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Letter: Public needs to know how CRT Team is negotiating the future of our waterways

Letters to the editor
By Letters to the editor
October 24th, 2023

To The Editor:

I have read with interest the updates on Columbia River Treaty (CRT) re-negotiations that Kathy Eichenberger periodically provides to the public.

As a resident of the Kootenays and Past President of the BC Wildlife Federation (BCWF) I am supportive of Arrow Reservoir water level stabilization and Columbia salmon returning to BC which from the public commentary seems to be the First Nations and provinces’ primary ecosystem restoration priority.

What the public has not  been informed of to date is what is the quid pro quo?

Are there ecosystem costs elsewhere?

To achieve  Arrow Reservoir level stabilization means foregoing some water storage which means it probably must be found/replaced elsewhere unless BC Hydro is willing to forego power production which is unlikely. Reduction of water storage on the Arrow and options to replace it are questions I am certain BC Hydro can answer and should answer now, not after the fact.

The public needs to know what is being given up to stabilize the Arrow Reservoir?

Unless a new dam is built water storage lost on the Arrow can only be made up from increased storage on Kinbasket Reservoir (Mica Dam) or possibly some on Revelstoke Reservoir, Duncan Reservoir or from Kootenay Lake.

The answer is likely all of the above and this is concerning for residents of Kootenay Lake and possibly explains why BC Hydro continues to advocate dredging of Grohman Narrows for greater control of Kootenay Lake levels under the false guise of flood control.

Recall we were promised in 1964 under the original Treaty that flood control was a certainty with construction of Duncan, Arrow and Libby Dams. A good journalist can dig up those promises of yesteryear.

The relevant questions is–what has changed that requires even further flood control on Kootenay Lake or is this requirement actually in anticipation of greater storage on the lake as part of CRT re-negotiations?

My intention in writing this letter is to have a more fulsome public discussion about what Kathy Eichenberger and team are negotiating about our future waterways.

Is Kootenay Lake about be abused yet again and if so how does this fit with so-called ecosystem restoration that is the third pillar of the Columbia Treaty re-negotiation strategy?

Perhaps our local MLAs can inform us since the CRT negotiating team is subject to confidentiality and seemingly provides only selective, positive information.

H. Andrusak, Past President BCWF

Categories: GeneralOp/Ed

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