Lardeau Valley Power Stability
Community meeting- August 2019
Purpose: to hear residents concerns regarding utility grid vulnerability
– Unreliable power in north Kootenay Lake Valley and very long power outages: affects local industry & economic activity. Telephone service is lost after as little as 12 hours. Water service and refrigeration is lost. Elderly residents placed at risk. Many forced to use backup generators; there is a safety risk if they are not properly isolated from the Hydro meter. This is due to the community being on a dead-end line with no redundant power source. It is compounded by the long delay time for BC Hydro crews to arrive on site from Nakusp or Vernon to repair line damage due to tree falls & rock and snow slides.
– There is a need to document the power outage statistics.
– We should set up a research team to study solutions.
– This is not seen as a priority issue by the Provincial Government; moreover, the Government is not interested in promoting local renewable energy.
- This should be regarded as a compensation issue going back to the Columbia River Treaty
- Need stats on power outages and duration over the last 10-20 years; compare to on the ground knowledge
- Trees down very often the cause; can BC Hydro cut them down- do a better job of line maintenance?
- What about having redundant lines that are in place as back up?
- Need a better understanding of how the grid works; specific to how it works in the LV
- Distribution is the barrier; currently comes up from the East shore and thus has many areas of vulnerability
- Gap from Marblehead to Howser
- No lineman since 2013; would that make a big difference in response time for restoring power
- Possible for BCUC support; clean energy section 2- Andy Shadrack to follow up
- Its getting worse
- More power failures in Howser than Johnson Landing; how does that work?
- Historical level of service; 26 years ago it took only a day to replace polls and lines, now it can take up to 72 + hours
- BC Hydro: **Aimee is seeking this information**
- Stats on power outages and duration
- There are BC Hydro employees here to operate Duncan Dam; why not a local lineman
- BC Hydro policy/ management of danger trees? Are they accounting for or working towards a wildfire mitigation plan that could support more stable system?
- Why are the outages more frequent? Due to longer response or more frequent weather event?
- Independent Power options: **Don Scarlett, Andy Shadrack, Joel Hutton, Bob Watters working together**
- Hugh Elliot/Argenta Power; what agreements, if any, do they have as an utility?
- Options for utility structure(s); in terms of governance
- Columbia Power Duncan Dam power feasibility study (Aimee has a copy but it is considered proprietary, hoping to gain permission to share it)
o Would a substation at the north end of the Lake improve power reliability?
o Terms of Reference for an economic development study aren’t the first priority; first address the power unreliability issue, do the study, etc.
- Renewable Energy Scan for Kaslo/D-**Aimee to circulate**
Premise of this action is to glean ground evidence and concerns from the residents while also soliciting locally based solutions. Actions and those who volunteered are listed below:
o Andy Shadrackcould write up standardized questions for collecting community concerns.
o Larry Leonardis willing to print out questionnaires to be dropped off at a central location.
o Greg Underwoodis willing to put the information into a database; his business can help set up public polling questions/forms and manage the data.
o Responses could be mailed in to the Lardeau Valley Community Hall.
o Opportunity Links needs to be notified about this initiative.
o At this stage funding could be available for materials needed to collect the data.
o Bring LINKS into the loop, ask for a section on the website to host information and documents ** Aimee will share these notes with Nichol Ward and ask that they be posted, once the group approves them**
o Responses could be mailed in to the Lardeau Valley Community Hall
finalized Wednesday August 21, 2019 by ADHOCS*.
SUMMARY of CCC/FLNRO/RDCK/ADHOCs Tuesday August 13 2019.
Bill Kestell Woodlands Manager, Cooper Creek Cedar (CCC)
Mike Kit Logging Supervisor, CCC
Joel Hamilton Wildfire Mitigation Supervisor RDCK
Grant Walton Forest Resource Manager South East Fire Centre
Rik Valentine* Dave Putt*, Marlene Johnston*, Mary Davidson*
Absent: Greg Utzig*
After close to a year with no meetings, Cooper Creek Cedar and the ad hoc group have met twice this month. The first meeting, August 1st, 2019 was a frank discussion about fuel treatments, not logging. Funding was discussed as the group tried to get a handle on how logging at Bulmers/Salisbury (B/S) could be designed to augment fire mitigation and forest adaptation to climate change. We asked CCC to post Lynn Betts’ summary of the June CCC/Public meeting online. The second meeting, August 13, 2019, was a discussion followed by a walk-through of the hillside. Wildlife habitat was a theme throughout. The following is a summary of the discussion.
The group met on the beach at Lost Ledge camp-ground to look at the Argenta to Salisbury face. Some clearly visible natural features lend themselves to a peak-to-lake fuel break. The most obvious is the patch of deciduous trees on the north side of Bulmers Creek. We discussed how it might be possible to provide a fuel treatment leading from the Johnson’s Landing road up to the bottom of this deciduous patch. Doing so would provide the bottom half of a lake to peak fuel break, and if roads are ever built in the A/B section the shaded fuel break could be continued above the deciduous patch.
A second idea was also explored, and that was to use the existing cut-blocks on Bulmers/Salisbury (B/S) to develop another fuel break on the south side of Bulmers Creek. These two ideas should be seen as parts of one proposed plan. One purpose of the walk-about was to discover whether it is viable to thin the two higher and most recent blocks (logged about 2001) to create a better fuel break.
We explored ways of connecting these blocks to the older blocks nearer the base of the mountain via fuel treatments creating shaded fuel breaks to connect the older cut- blocks. Some of this area is within CCC’s proposed cutblocks. We also considered thinning the older cutblocks near the bottom of the slope, subject to funding. Habitat and forest health are considerations – the CCC wildlife assessment and forest health reports may change what fuel breaks are possible .
Discussion at the beach clarified that supplemental funding is required for the licensee to be able to provide the ‘extras’ that constitute long term reduction of fire hazards. They are willing to help with it if supplemental funding can be found. Competition for
funding is intense and funding sources are limited at the moment but the province may soon allot new money for work in Wildfire Urban Interface zones. The ad hoc talked of the need for a comprehensive landscape level risk reduction plan (Hamill to Fry) rather than planning ‘one at a time’, or ‘between drainages’. CCC prefers to focus on Bulmers/Salisbury in the short term. Access is a key component of being able to quickly action a fire and some options used elsewhere, like strategic helipads and paths to water sources, were mentioned.
In addition to funding, we discussed: old growth management areas (OGMAs), forest health, wildlife and habitat, various shaded fuel treatment types, community safety, current guidelines for fire mitigation and climate adaptation, and using proposed cutblocks to demonstrate different types of shaded fuel breaks.
The group drove up B/S road and walked down through the two large cutblocks that lie on the north-west brow of the hillside, visible from Lardeau. These are the most recently cable and heli-logged blocks, completed 2000-2002. They are nicely restocked and fairly open with some deciduous. No thinning is needed yet. They are partial fuel breaks right now, but over the next 15-20 years this function will disappear as the trees grow (adding fuel load) and the canopies close in. The lower cutblocks were logged in the mid nineties by horse and with a small skidder. They are thick stands with a good mix of drought resistant conifers and deciduous species. Thinning now would improve stand health and prolong their effectiveness as partial fire breaks. However, the young trees in the new stands are not yet large enough to make a commercial cut viable.
Cooper Creek Cedar is still collecting data on forest health, wildlife management and cruise data. Cruise data is necessary to plan shaded fuel breaks if these are going to happen. Until all outstanding reports are complete ‘planning’ consists of talking in general terms about what is both feasible and effective. The reports will be made public once they are completed. Cooper Creek Cedar indicated that they plan to submit a cutting permit application before the end of 2019 and begin logging at B/S in 2020.
Initial conversations, while speculative, are familiarizing the ad hoc group with the licensee’s goals and vice versa. There is a sense that the licensee is open to the possibilities of logging and doing post logging treatment in a way that reduces fire hazards but as a business they can only go so far. The best result in terms of fire mitigation depends on funding from outside sources. In general, prescriptions that lend themselves to fire mitigation and climate adaptation are being sought. The ad hoc group intends to explore funding sources.
The ad hoc group will be posting links with information on fuel treatments, shaded fuel breaks and current guidelines on the Argenta file share. Please
look for them there.
finalized Wednesday August 21, 2019 by ADHOCS*.
For all those keen on discussing independent power production and/or those aware of the various barriers to producing power and selling it to the grid, the BC Government is currently seeking input on the Standing Offer Program.
SOP Is what, mostly, regulates how one can sell into the grid. This is a major barrier for many including our regional municipalities who are eager to see watersheds that provide our drinking water also become how we power our communities.
For details on the SOP and where you can provide your input:
Interior Forest Renewal
I just came from a workshop with the province, community forests, industry leaders from mills to tenure holders, non profits and local government that outlined five key areas of interest the BC Government is seeking input on.
The riveting policy paper and input forms can be found here: