Quadra regional director pushes back against tidal power

He also questions why a public meeting on a proposal to investigate tidal potential is being held at Rivercorp’s offices

Strathcona Regional District (SRD) Director Jim Abram says there is no way tidal power generation projects should be considered in south Discovery Passage and Seymour Narrows.

He also questions why a public meeting on a proposal to investigate tidal potential is being held at Rivercorp’s offices in Campbell River rather than on Quadra where the stakeholders are concentrated.

However, Scot Merriam, the principal of the proponent, Nanaimo-based SRM Projects Ltd., says some of Abram’s concerns are valid. “It is possible some areas are not the best for development. That’s why we have these processes.” He also says he will certainly consider a public meeting on Quadra and will contact Abram to discuss a suitable venue.

The engineering firm has applied for investigative licenses for the purpose of determining the potential for tidal power in this area. An open house will be held in Nov. 22 to provide interested parties with information about the proposed investigative activities. The meeting will be held between 7 p.m. and 8:30 in the Rivercorp boardroom.

But Abram says: “At least 50 per cent of the water area applied for is within the jurisdiction of Area C of the regional district. As the Area Director I have already commented to the BC Lands Branch on the inappropriateness of applications in this area due to extreme tidal action and weather events.”

Abram says he supports tidal energy and gave his blessing to the Canoe Pass tidal energy tenure and rezoning at Maude Island. “This is quite different. There is the tug and barge traffic and their incredibly deep running tow lines. And there is the commercial and recreational fishery to be considered, fishing at depths of up to 250 feet.

“The portions in Area C will require zoning amendments through the Strathcona Regional District. This entire area has been applied for in the past and was unsuccessful. So why are we having to go through it again?”

Abram says holding the meeting at Rivercorp could leave his Quadra constituents with the impression this is a Campbell River sponsored event. “It will be difficult for them to attend an event of this importance in Campbell River rather than on Quadra Island.”

On Tuesday Campbell River City Council adopted a motion by Coun. Andy Adams to send a letter of support for the approval of SRM’s investigative licenses to the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations.

North Island NDP MLA Claire Trevena, a Quadra resident, says her party is very interested in exploring green energy initiatives and “tidal power is more viable that wind, solar or run-of-river.” She cautions that the NDP remains very concerned about the government’s “secret deals” with independent power producers that have saddled BC Hydro with long contracts for very expensive power.