The Salmon River diversion (on the right of the picture) presents a hazard to elk that get trap in the concrete channel.

BC Hydro to fence off death trap

A power-generating canal that has been a “torturous” death trap for Roosevelt elk will be fenced off by BC Hydro

A power-generating canal that has been a “torturous” death trap for Roosevelt elk will be fenced off by BC Hydro.

The Salmon River diversion canal, located west of the city and commissioned in 1958 to divert water from the Salmon River into the Lower Campbell reservoir, is a three-kilometre long concrete flume that has been the deathbed of at least five elk in the past two years.

Particularly in the winter, when everything freezes, it’s believed the elk slip and slide down the three-metre high concrete walls.

“They fall in and once they get their hooves wet, they can’t get out,” said Mike Gage, director of the Campbell River Salmon Foundation who found one elk carcass in the canal last spring and has seen pictures of four others. “It’s a horrible death, it’s not a quick death and they suffer.” He said when the canal is empty of water, the elk starve to death and if it’s full, they drown.

“It’s a torturous death for the elk and it’s so unnecessary,” said Gage, who has been fighting to have the canal fenced off for nearly two years.

He was disappointed when the Salmon Foundation and the Sayward Fish and Game Club’s joint application for a wildlife fence was turned down.

Stephen Watson, spokesperson for BC Hydro, said the Fish and Wildlife Compensation Program, which is a partnership between BC Hydro, the province and Fisheries and Oceans Canada that sets aside $1.6 million each year for projects that help manage the impact BC Hydro facilities have on the environment, rejected the proposal because it did not address the highest ranking issues in the coastal area.

But BC Hydro, as facility owner, conducted its own review into the public safety risk the canal presents and possible safety mitigation measures and as a result has decided to fence off the canal to limit potential falls.

“The implications could be serious from a three-metre fall into the canal if dry, or possibly drowning if water is being diverted,” said Watson. “BC Hydro is committing to the community that it will fence the length of the canal on both sides. The eight inch wood post and wire fence should address both public safety risk and prevent wildlife incidents. The fence can direct elk across the existing four bridges. Some sections of the canal will require chain link fencing, where danger to the public is greater and a higher level of access prevention is desired.”

Watson said the work, which will cost about $500,000, is expected to take about two months to complete and is anticipated to begin in late summer 2011.

The Salmon River Diversion Canal is typically used to divert water in the fall and late spring, early summer. BC Hydro only uses the canal when there is enough water in the Salmon River to do so and only when there is a need to divert water.

This year, with so much water expected to come from the upcoming snow melt, Hydro has yet to divert any water from the river and has no immediate plans to do so.

Just Posted

B.C. to move salmon farms out of coastal migration route

Broughton Archipelago plan set to start in spring of 2019

Stranded B.C. trucker writes final wishes before being rescued 3 days later

‘I was just praying someone would come along’

Campbell River School District calls for report on buses and seat-belts

Parents have questions following expose on research around buses and safety

New wind warning for most of Vancouver Island

Forecasters are calling for strong winds up to 90km/h for some areas

Trudeau to make it harder for future PM to reverse Senate reforms

Of the 105 current senators, 54 are now independents who have banded together in Independent Senators’ Group

Man dies after falling from B.C. bridge

Intoxicated man climbed railing, lost his balance and fell into the water below

B.C. animation team the ‘heart’ of new ‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’

The animators, largely based in Vancouver, ultimately came up with a creative technique that is drawing praise

Light at the end of the tunnel for UN climate talks

Meeting in Katowice was meant to finalize how countries report their emissions of greenhouses gases

Janet Jackson, Def Leppard, Nicks join Rock Hall of Fame

Radiohead, the Cure, Roxy Music and the Zombies will also be ushered in at the 34th induction ceremony

Supreme Court affirms privacy rights for Canadians who share a computer

Section 8 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms protects Canadians against unreasonable search and seizure

‘I practically begged’: Kootenay woman with breast cancer denied referral to Calgary

Breast cancer patient left to fight disease alone after being denied referral to Calgary

21 detained before Paris protests as police deploy in force

There was a strong police presence outside the central Saint Lazare train station, where police in riot gear checked bags

ICBC to apply for 6.3% hike to basic insurance rates

Crown Corporation said it will be submitting its next basic rate application to the British Columbia Utilities Commission Friday

Most Read