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Aug. 30, 2010

NELSON — Less than one year after the B.C. Environmental Assessment Office gave the Glacier-Howser private power project its second failing grade, the company proposing the project has now applied for a third time, and New Democrats are once again vowing to stand with the community to stop it.

“The people of the Kootenays have already spoken about this project – they simply don’t want it because it is not good for our region,” said Michelle Mungall, New Democrat MLA for Nelson-Creston.

“The B.C. Liberal government has ensured that destructive projects like the Glacier-Howser proposal can come back again and again, even when local businesses and people in the region have been outspoken about their potential to harm our communities,” said Mungall.

The controversial 100 megawatt private power project is proposed for an area in the Purcell Mountains, 120 kilometres north of Nelson. Mungall noted that opposition to the project by the vast majority of local residents is due to its potential to harm threatened and endangered species such as bull trout, grizzly bears, wolverine and mountain caribou, as well as the damage it would do to a popular recreational area and tourist attraction.

“During last year’s public consultation process, it was a struggle to get some clarity and transparency about ways for the public to meaningfully participate,” added Mungall. “Should this application go forward yet again, the public must be heard.”

Mungall has written a letter to the project assessment director at the Environmental Assessment Office requesting a number of measures to ensure the public’s voice is heard:

  1. In addition to other public meetings, a formal public meeting must be held in Nelson, home to a significant number of businesses, organizations and other community stakeholders;
  2. The maximum number of days (75) must be allowed for public consultation, and that the public must be provided information on how to fully participate in the process;
  3. An independently written executive summary of the proposal must be provided in plain language that is understandable to the public.

“The environment minister has the authority to shut down this process now and save a lot of time and money on reviewing a proposal that the people of the Kootenays have already said loud and clear they don’t want. Barring the minister’s intervention, at the very least the Environmental Assessment Office needs to do everything it can to make sure people’s voices are heard,” said Mungall.

The Carole James New Democrats are holding the B.C. Liberals accountable for their HST doublecross while working with British Columbians from all walks of life, all corners of B.C., and all sectors of our economy to build a better British Columbia for the people of this province.

Click to view the letter: Open Letter to Kathy Eichenberger, Project Assessment Director, BC EAO