OUT ON A LIMB: Energy minister obviously wasn’t well informed

Decommissioning dams is not such an odd proposal.

Decommissioning dams is not such an odd proposal.

In fact, it’s an action being taken in many jurisdictions, particularly in the States where old, obsolete dams have even spawned organizations pursuing they’re removal.

The idea is to restore natural runs of river in areas where the dams no longer serve any purpose.

They’re usually on smaller rivers that have a large recreational potential.

The John Hart Dam decommissioning that provincial energy minister Rich Coleman momentarily contemplated is a different kettle of fish. the dam would have to lower a whole whack of water in the valley stretching all the way back up to Myra Falls.

Regardless of the hydroelectric implications and the safety of the dam structure, hundreds of thousands of dollars would have to be spent on reforestation in the previous water levels. What a project that would have been. Lately, we’ve been getting a taste of what it would be like if water levels on the Buttle-Campbell lake and river system would look like and it ain’t pretty.

Buttle and Upper Campbell lakes currently link but historically they had stretches of the Campbell River between them. When the Ellis Expedition ventured into the region 101 years ago to investigate the creation of a provincial park, they spent a lot of time poling upstream. The Strathcona recreation expedition last year paddled most of the way up into Buttle Lake because of the huge reservoir created by the dams.

In recent years, drought conditions have required the lake level to be lowered significantly. The bare, glaring-yellow rock shoreline has stood out in stark contrast to the forested slopes and dark rocks of the mountains that  make up the Buttle Lake valley. Wharves at Strathcona Park Lodge get stranded and the shoreline gleams so brightly, you almost have to squint your eyes to reduce the glare of sunny days. If the John Hart Dam and presumably the Strathcona Dam were to be removed, an extensive replanting program would be needed and that shore would take decades to look natural.

That’s if you were to take the dams out. If you didn’t, there would still be a cost to maintain the dams both structurally and functionally as you’d have to open the floodgates at low water times to ensure there’s enough water in the Campbell River for salmon runs.

It’s always nice to return an area to its natural state – lots of work has been done in that regard in the Campbell River estuary – but it would be hugely problematic to do it in the Buttle-Campbell system. Plus the results probably wouldn’t be seen in my lifetime.

Coleman obviously didn’t have all the information he should have when he made that pronouncement but he was soon put straight on the issue. He just say a saving of $1.35 billion and said there’s some good political optics.

Just Posted

Confusion in Campbell River on first day of cannabis legalization

Some users puzzled as dispensaries close just before pot becomes legal across Canada

Aquaman star spotted around Campbell River as production ramps up on See

Jason Momoa, best known for his role in Game of Thrones, is in town to film television series

VIDEO: This is what buying legal pot in B.C. looks like

Take a look inside B.C.’s first and only legal pot shop located in Kamloops

Man injured in Vancouver Island racetrack accident meets, holds son for first time

Kayden was born the day after Jonathan was crushed by car at speedway

Campbell River school enrolment up over projections

End of September count finds 65 more students in the system

Mellow opening to B.C.’s only legal pot shop

About five people lined up early for the opening of the BC Cannabis Store in Kamloops.

Jagmeet Singh says marijuana pardons are not enough

Trudeau government will streamline pardon process for Canadians convicted of simple possession of marijuana in the past

Caregivers banned from smoking, growing cannabis around children-in-care: MCFD

Ministry has limited cannabis use for caregivers, stating it may “pose a risk to children and youth.”

Cheaper strains sell out within minutes on online BC Cannabis Store

Province says new strains will become available in the coming months

Only 40% of B.C. car dealerships have electric cars available: report

Researchers found buyers frustrated at the lack of options

VIDEO: Millionaire Lottery returns to give back and win big

Since 1996, Millionaire Lottery has raised $52 million for the VGH+UBC Hospital Foundation

Test case challenges a politician’s right to block people from Twitter account

3 people say Watson infringed their constitutional right to freedom of expression by blocking them

‘A little odd’ B.C.’s biggest city celebrates cannabis without a legal store

On the streets of downtown Vancouver, notably the Wild West of illegal marijuana, not a single legal store opened Wednesday, making for a rather anticlimatic kick-off

Most Read