Hydro released extra water too soon down Puntledge River

BC Hydro is a convenient whipping boy for anything that goes wrong on the Puntledge and Courtenay rivers, particularly flooding.

BC Hydro is a convenient whipping boy for anything that goes wrong on the Puntledge and Courtenay rivers, particularly flooding.

In fact, lawyer Clive Ansley, on behalf of Maple Pool Campsite’s owners, alleges that Hydro caused the campsite to flood by mistiming the release of water from its dam on the Puntledge not far from Comox Lake.

Several things factor into water release — height of the lake and how close water is to the top of the dam, snowmelt into the lake, forecast rain, the amount of water in the river and whether the tide at the mouth of the Courtenay is coming in or going out.

The Puntledge is also a significant salmon-bearing river.

Hydro sometimes releases “pulse flows,” which temporarily raise the level of the river. This can help young salmon navigate down the river past seals that would happily snack on them, and also help spawning salmon get up the river.

However, Hydro goofed when it decided to more than triple Puntledge flows Saturday evening.

In a year of much higher and much later snowmelt than usual, Hydro said last week it was releasing extra water to lower the lake in anticipation of rainstorms to come.

That’s reasonable, except this past weekend was the most attractive window of the all-too-brief fishing season on the Puntledge, one of the most popular fisheries on Vancouver Island.

As ardent fisherman Dionne Hurd wrote last week, tourists from as far away as Europe come to the Comox Valley to fish the Puntledge on that weekend.

Besides flushing fish out of the river, on top of preventing fishing at an excellent (and rare) time for it, Hydro also risked the lives of people who have come to fish and might not have been aware the river was going to be drastically higher.

Hydro has a difficult task managing its dam with several user groups in mind, but in retrospect, it should have withheld one day of excellent kayaking Sunday for one more day of excellent fishing.

editor@comoxvalleyrecord.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Cumberland photographer Sara Kemper recently took the top spot in a Canadian Geographic photography contest. Photo by Sara Kemper
Cumberland photographer takes top Canadian Geographic photo prize

Sara Kemper shows what home means to her in Comox Valley photo

Gord John stands during question period in Ottawa in Sept. 2020. (PHOTO COURTESY CHRISTIAN DIOTTE, HOUSE OF COMMONS PHOTO SERVICES)
2020: A Year in Review with Courtenay-Alberni MP Gord Johns

NDP MP wants to ‘build back better’ in 2021

A concept plan for the Bevan Road industrial lands from 2020. Council recently approved variances to help move along the development. Image, Village of Cumberland
Cumberland approves variance for Bevan industrial lands

Change allows one site to be smaller than the minimum lot size

The Comox Valley RCMP have issued a warrant for Brittany Forrest. Photo supplied
Comox Valley RCMP issue arrest warrant for 29-year-old woman

The Comox Valley RCMP have issued an arrest warrant for 29-year-old Brittany… Continue reading

On average, the Comox Station receives 60 call outs per year. Photo by RCM-SAR member Chris Beech, Media.
BOATING WITH BARB: Victoria JRCC and RCM-SAR Station 60 Comox work together to save lives

Barb Thomson Special to The Record Just imagine you wander down to… Continue reading

Syringe is prepared with one of B.C.’s first vials of Pfizer vaccine to prevent COVID-19, Victoria, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 caseload stays steady with 465 more Tuesday

No new outbreaks in health care facilities, 12 more deaths

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Stand up paddleboarder Christie Jamieson is humbled to her knees as a pod of transient orcas put on a dramatic show on Jan. 19 in the Ucluelet Harbour. (Nora O’Malley photo)
Ucluelet paddle boarder surrounded by pod of orcas

“My whole body is still shaking. I don’t even know what to do with this energy.”

Inmates at Metchosin’s William Head Institution are being given COVID-19 vaccines as part of the first phase. Around 600 inmates will be vaccinated in the coming days. (Black Press Media file photo)
William Head prison inmates in receive first doses of COVID vaccine

Priority set for older inmates and those with underlying medical conditions

New Westminster TV production designer, Rick Whitfield, has designed an office in a box for British Columbians in need of a private workspace. (BC Box Office photo)
PHOTOS: B.C. man designs ‘box office’ solution for those working from home

‘A professionally designed workspace on your property, away from the distractions of home’

Chilliwack ER doctor Marc Greidanus is featured in a video, published Jan. 18, 2021, where he demonstrates and describes effectiveness of various styles of masks. (Youtube)
VIDEO: Emergency room doctor runs through pros and cons of various masks

‘We’ve been asked to wear a mask and it’s not that hard,’ Greidanus says.

(Pixabay photo)
VIDEO: Tip to Metro Vancouver transit police helps woman 4,000 km away in Ohio

Sgt. Clint Hampton says transit police were alerted to a YouTube video of the woman in mental distress

A woman types on her laptop in Miami in a Monday, Dec. 12, 2016, photo illustration. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Wilfredo Lee
British Columbia government lax on cybersecurity practices, auditor reports

The audit did not highlight a specific threat, but it found breaches in cybersecurity are increasing globally

A water taxi at Victoria’s Fisherman’s Wharf. (Black Press Media file photo)
Man arrested after stolen water taxi raced up Victoria’s Gorge Waterway

Man is facing recommended charges of theft over $5,000 after leading police on marine chase

Most Read