A note to BC Hydro and the regional district, regarding the Puntledge Paddle Festival: If you truly want to be water wise, cancel this festival.
This morning, April 10, on a televised news release from Environment Canada, stated that on Vancouver Island, due to a snowpack that is only 15 per cent of normal and the likelihood of another very dry summer, we should prepare ourselves for moderate to severe water restrictions.
This flies in the face of Hydro’s statement that lowering the lake by 20 centimetres will not be a problem.
No, it may not be a problem for BC Hydro, but in the event of a dry summer it will be a problem for water users in the Comox Valley. Hydro can slow or stop power generation from June onward, thereby keeping the outflow to a minimum, but that 20 centimetres is a two- or three-year supply of water to the residents of the Valley.
The other questionable statement is the idea that the extra water flow will somehow enable the smolts to bypass the seals in the lower river. The smolts do not now and never have needed extra water to reach the ocean.The problem is the seals, and that is DFO’s problem. If they were doing their job instead of trying to be all things to all people there would be no seals at the mouth of the river eating the smolts.
They also say that this festival is a revenue generator for the Valley.
Last year you couldn’t have found 50 kayakers if you sent out search parties, and no one from the business community has ever stepped forward to say how well they did as a result of this festival.
There are too many unanswered questions and due to the uncertain weather and the statement from Environment Canada, this festival is a really bad idea. You may disagree but in July when you are facing Stage 2 or Stage 3 water restrictions, you may want to reconsider.