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Last night’s protest was much smaller than the one held at B.C. Hydro’s most recent open house on April 17, as about half a dozen protesters walked through the meeting with Anti-Site C signs and ringing a bell. Their presence was met by applause by some in the crowd, and generally stopped conversation while they made their way through the room. Although PVEA was not protesting anything specific about the proposed guidelines, this was just another opportunity to get its voice heard.

“I think that it’s time that some of the local fat cats that enjoy everything should stop and really think about what’s happening,” said protester Ken Chambers. “If that dam goes through, it’s losing what’s left of the river valley forever.”

Chambers recounted a story told by a woman in Dawson Creek last week, whose family members watched caribou swim out into the Williston Lake, created by the W.A.C. Bennett Dam, and drown, because it was in their migration path. PVEA took their protest outside to 100 Avenue, where they garnered a number of honks from passing drivers.

Back inside, the open house continued, as approximately 60 residents made their way through poster boards and slideshows explaining the EIS Guidelines. Several of the people who created the Guidelines were there as well to answer any questions and take feedback. As of 7 p.m., those workers said not much feedback had been given to them personally, but there were two laptops sent up for written comment, and there are still several days left in the 45-day public comment period for issues and concerns to be voiced.

Former South Peace MLA Jack Weisgerber, who helped with the Aboriginal rights part of the Guidelines, says this is one of the best times for residents to get their concerns in, as the Guidelines will dictate much of the future of the project. The Guidelines specify what studies and information is needed to describe the project’s environmental, economic, social, health and heritage effects, and what measures should be taken to mitigate those effects.

If interested in viewing the draft EIS Guidelines or for more information on this project, visit the official website of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Registry, reference number 11-05-63919. Information can also be obtained through the B.C. Environmental Assessment office website. Written comments can be submitted by June 1, 2012 to the following address: Linda Jones, Panel Manager, Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency, 22 Floor, 160 Elgin Street, Ottawa, On, K1A 0H3, or email SiteCReview@ceaa-acee.gc.ca.

The open house moves to the Community Hall in Hudson’s Hope tonight, and the Pomeroy Inn & Suites tomorrow in Chetwynd, both from 4 to 8 p.m., and then to Peace River, Dawson Creek and Prince George starting next Tuesday.
 

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