A representative of BC Hydro occupied the Seniors Building on Wednesday evening and displayed poster boards crammed with information describing current operations and future initiatives.
This was a stray from previous public sessions that were primarily lecture–based and included an open question session at the end.
“I think it is helpful for people to see the charts and pick them apart generating specific questions and comments” Sabrina Locicero, BC Hydro’s stakeholder engagement advisor, observed.
Community members were free to roam the open space and engage with the BC Hydro service and operational experts.
The conversations generated by the group focused on addressing concerns regarding a core set of environmental and recreational issues.
Molly Bell, member of the Columbia Basin Revitalization Coalition urged, “we need the shoreline, we need the riparian zone for wildlife, we need the environment back.”
The desire for BC Hydro to commit to mid pool levels, that would hold the water at 1425 feet, was repeated throughout the discussions.
“There are a lot of opinions and the management is very complex” Locicero commented, and added, “we want to inform people so they are aware of what has happened and what upcoming forecasted levels will be as well as connect with experts who can answer their questions.”
Locicero identified that each community that BC Hydro meets with has a different set of concerns. For example, Nakusp tends to focus on boat ramps, birds and fish while the conversations in Meadow Creek revolve around mosquito populations and in Castelgar the questions are concerned with discharge rates.
When asked how BC Hydro addresses the variety of unique regional concerns, Locicero sited the water use plan that was developed through public consultation as the document that outlines the company’s obligations of use.
In terms of electrical service Locicero highlighted BC Hydro’s system improvements, specifically, the plan to complete a distribution system upgrade, which includes a system voltage conversion to a higher class.
The adjustment seeks to double the available capacity in Nakusp and potentially identify system deficiencies.