Fort St. John – Conservationists are decryingg BC Hydro’s plans to log the Peace River Valley above the Site C dam site, including an area that has been recommended for Provincial Park status and contains rare old growth forests.
On September 1, BC Hydro placed a notice at the back of local newspapers of its intent to log the valley, including parts of the ecologically unique Peace-Boudreau area that hugs the river’s southern shore. There was no mention of the Site C dam in the advertisement, which gave a deadline for comments of September 25.
“If BC Hydro is given control of these Crown lands, they can log them at any time,” said Candace Batycki, BC and Yukon Program Director for Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative (Y2Y). “BC Hydro already logged part of the Peace-Boudreau last year, including an Old Growth Management Area and the site of the first interior trading post in BC. Now they want the rest. Why? Even if Site C is built – which is still before the courts – the flooding wouldn’t happen until 2024.”
Conservationists and local community groups were disappointed with the extremely short comment period associated with the application. “The manner of advertising, and the short comment period, seems designed to minimize awareness of the application and hence the receipt of actual comments,” said Batycki.
Y2Y is calling on BC Hydro to withdraw its application until the courts can rule on the outstanding treaty rights issues, currently before the federal Court of Appeal. At the very least, the group argues, the comment period should be extended to allow for actual examination and discussion of this unnecessary forest removal proposal.
Feature image: A view of the Peace River Valley with the Peace-Boudreau Protected Area visible across the river. Photo: Tristan Brand.