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Public comments sought on Halfway River boat launch proposal

BC Hydro commits to funding conservation officer position to patrol future Site C reservoir

A public comment period opens Friday, Dec. 10, on BC Hydro's proposal to relocate the Cache Creek boat launch on the future Site C reservoir to the Halfway River instead.

BC Hydro is seeking amendments to its environmental certificate to move the launch and day use area to the eastern shoreline of the reservoir near Halfway River, due to what it describes as site challenges and steep access at Cache Creek.

Earlier this year, the company said an evaluation of Cache Creek found that other potential locations “were either not viable or not readily achievable due to geotechnical, environmental, archaeological, property, and/or heritage considerations.” Alternative locations were explored at Watson Spring and Silver Spring, but ruled out over safety concerns due to steep access and potential issues with debris accumulation at the boat launch.

“The new proposed location near Halfway River is preferred because of its proximity to the existing Halfway River boat launch,” says BC Hydro. “This location also has good access from Highway 29, low impacts to vegetation, and overall lower construction and operating costs.”

As part of construction of the $16-billion dam project, BC Hydro is required to build three new boat launch and day use sites accessible off Highway 29, to replace existing public boat launches that will be inundated by the Site C reservoir.

As part of its amendment application to the BC Environmental Assessment Office, BC Hydro included two letters of support from the Halfway River First Nation and Peace Country River Rats.

Halfway River says it will support the boat launch if BC Hydro establishes and funds a conservation officer position to patrol the Site C reservoir during the operations of the dam, and continues to work with the nation on mitigation measures.

BC Hydro says it has already formally committed to Halfway River that it will work with the province and provide funding for the position for a period of five years, and that the two parties will be requesting the position be made available to interested Treaty 8 nations.

The River Rats noted that Halfway River is already an extremely common launch point for many river users. The club said it supports a launch being constructed adding, “the possibility of people making their own trail down to the river to gain the access that they are used to having causing erosion and potential disaster for garbage and debris is a very real concern.”

The comment period is open until Jan. 14, 2022. Click here to review the application and complete the online input form.

Input can also be mailed to Sarah DugganProject Assessment Director, Environmental Assessment Office, PO Box 9426, Stn Prov Govt, Victoria BC V8W 9V1; or by faxing 250-356-2208.


Email Managing Editor Matt Preprost at editor@ahnfsj.ca