By Gagandeep Ghuman
Published: March. 10, 2012
New power lines proposed by Skookum Creek Power Project will affect at least five campsites at Cat Lake, the Squamish Reporter has learned.
Skookum Creek Power Project, a 25-MV hydroelectric power project, is being built by Run of River Power Inc., a subsidiary of Sea to Sky Power Corporation.
The new power lines will go below the existing power lines at the recreation area around Cat Lake, overlapping on some of the camp sites at the recreation area.
There are as many as 25-30 camp sites at Cat Lake, and at least five camp sites might have to be abandoned, said Jeff Fisher, who manages the area for Squamish Nation.
Fisher said the proponents would have to clear 20 or 30 metres wide of forests for the new power lines.
“There is an existing power line, and the new power line goes below the existing one. There would be an overlap there and it will affect some of the existing camp sites,” he said.
Ron Sanderson, communications director for the Run of River Power Inc., said the company isn’t sure how the campsites would be affected until the transmission plan is complete.
He agreed, however, that there is a possibility that some sites may be affected.
“In that case, we will provide more sites in a different area,” he said.
The company will also provide other benefits to the site, but specifics will be determined in collaboration with the district recreation officer, he added.
“We understand that the Cat Lake campground is very important to residents in the Squamish area, and we have been working closely with the District Recreation Office from the Ministry of Forests to minimize impacts and ensure that overall there will be no reduction in campsites,” he said.
In January this year, the district of Squamish decided to back the power project, as long the company could satisfy the concerns of biking community.
The project is located 11 kilometres east of Squamish in the Squamish Lillooet Regional District (SLRD) on Skookum Creek, a tributary that flows into the Mamquam River basin.
The power lines on this $92 million power project would follow an existing B.C. Hydro right-of-way that runs behind Quest University and Alice and Cat lakes before it connects to the electrical grid at the Cheekye Substation in Brackendale.
The power lines cut through well-known trails, including Ring Creek Rip, and a raft of other mountain biking trails. Proponets are working with Squamish Dirt Bike Association and Squamish Off-Road Cycling Association to mitigate the effects of the project. An Key Principles Agreement is expected to be signed soon.