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Letters to the Editor – Opinions

An apology – and a clarification

Editor’s note: The front page photo caption that ran in our January 23 edition (‘Dam it!’) was misleading. In a misguided attempt at a catchy headline, we sacrificed accuracy. We sincerely apologize to our readers and to the principals of Narrows Inlet Hydro, who kindly supplied us with last week’s cover photo and thank Mr. Niamir for the following excellent clarification.

Heather Jeal


Dear Editor:

Narrows Inlet Hydro likes to thank you for your article on our project that appeared on the cover of your January 23, 2014 issue.

The article is factual and informative. However the picture depicted in the article is fundamentally incorrect. We do not build dams but build a low height weir that does not impound the stream, but diverts part of the flow to the penstock for energy capture.

A dam implies flooding of hundreds of hectares of habitat (8,000 in the case of BC Hydro’s Site C) in order to create storage and raise the water level. Our weir will flood less than one hectare. The authorities will never approve a dam for any private hydro project in the province.

So your sensationalist label “Dam it!” on the image does not do service to your readers or to us.

Furthermore, the arrow points to the approximate location of the powerhouse and not to the location of the intake weir or the purported dam which is well hidden behind the curved valley. The image implies that this pointed area which is quite visible from the viewpoint will be flooded, impacting the visual values. The arrow does not say the powerhouse will be at that location but the “Dam it!” which is what most readers will see rather than the caption.

Finally, your caption and article suggests that our powerhouse will severely impact the regrowth forest. Fact is that our powerhouse impacts less than one hectare of land or about two acres, while a single cutblock consists of 60 hectares or more of land that will be cut for logging. Thus comparing a less than one hectare activity with an activity that is 60 to 1,000 or more hectares is misleading and gratuitous.

Bern Niamir E.Eng., M.Sc.E.E, Principal,
Narrows Inlet Hydro Holding Corp


Report bats, but don’t disturb their rest

I was happy to see a write-up extolling the tremendous benefit of having bats in our midst (The Local, January 23). However, I would like to add a caution to the request for reporting bat sightings.

Bats build up a store of fat to carry them through their long winter hibernation. A bat that is disturbed at its winter roost will awaken and fly around, using up its fat reserves. Since there are few insects at this time of year, the bat cannot replenish its reserves and will starve to death, or at least be greatly weakened and thus more susceptible to disease.

If you find one or more roosting bats, do not disturb them but let them be.

Sheila Weaver, Gibsons


Eelgrass report clarification

Last Tuesday, I gave my report to the Town of Gibsons on the eelgrass mapping project I had recently completed for the Recreational Water lease area. The beds are expanding, and are continuous and vibrant.  Eelgrass is important habitat for a myriad of marine species, is a corridor for marine life to safely travel, oxygenates our waters, captures and stabilizes sediments, is a carbon sink, and buffers our shorelines from wave, storm, and heavy rainfall events.

At the end of my presentation, councillor Gary Tretick asked about the feasibility of the Armours Beach Marine Park development. My reply was less is more, but improvement of the design is feasible. That does not mean the proposed design, as presented, will not have impact on the existing eelgrass beds.

Any development over eelgrass beds will drastically reduce their chances of survival.

Dianne Sanford,
Sunshine Coast


Sechelt Council writes our readers

As members of your Council we don’t agree on all matters all the time. We do agree that healthy debate of options for the betterment of our community is a sound approach. After discussion last week, we unanimously agreed that the opportunity offered to Sechelt to receive a $7.4 million loan and $1 million grant from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities’ Green Municipal Fund is a sound one that our community should have the chance to review.

It is important that the community has access to details needed to make an informed decision. The District will offer information sessions for the public to ask questions and have their voices heard. We will keep the community up to date on changes or new developments through the District website ( and social media channels.

We look forward to connecting with you in the coming weeks.

District of Sechelt Mayor and Council 


Gibsons poised to throw out welcome mat

Having been an integral part of the ‘Opening Development Team’ for Whistler Resort and Conference Centre (now Tourism Whistler), as Marketing Director, I know first-hand how change as dramatic as The George project can affect the overall ambiance and charm of a quaint destination. However, it is change in its most positive form as in order for the beautiful seaside town of Gibsons to flourish and actually grow its community, well into the future, a development of this statue is vitally necessary.

The George Hotel and Residences’ extensive meeting space will provide a highly conducive venue for small to mid-sized corporate and association meetings as well as special events – attracting a new level of consumer to this area from a much broader customer base located throughout the Pacific Northwest, including British Columbia and indeed, the world. This will be felt almost immediately following the comprehensive marketing and sales efforts of the property by its senior management team – well in advance of the property opening – and currently, could not afford to be undertaken by any other organization operating on the Sunshine Coast. Residents too will have bragging rights of this magnificent facility gracing the inner harbour, as it becomes the ‘go to’ place for activities, which currently cannot be held here.

Travellers are highly sophisticated in the 21st century. They are seeking first class accommodations in unique environs. They want dining experiences reflective of the local bounty, and they look for adventure and shopping which provides insight into local culture.

With the presence of The George Hotel and Residences, I believe Gibsons will be poised to throw out one of the greatest and best ‘welcome mats’ in British Columbia’s tourism history.

Cheryl MacKinnon,
Roberts Creek, BC


Vote of thanks to whistleblowers

Recently I witnessed three events which have disturbed and saddened me greatly:

CBC’s Fifth Estate aired investigative journalist Linden McIntyre’s documentary Silence of the Labs. He examines how the Canadian Government has quietly and systematically closed two thousand research labs across the country and reassigned muzzled scientists or simply fired them, like West Coast toxicologist Peter Ross who is not afraid to speak out.

Salmon Confidential is a documentary film based on research findings of biologist Alexandra Morton over a thirty-year period. The Department of Fisheries and Oceans denies her access to their labs, so she sends her tissue samples to Norway. They tell her that British Columbia’s wild salmon are ill and dying from diseases spread by salmon farms.

CKNW radio host Bill Good tackled the same topic on January 22 asking, “Is the Department of Fisheries and Oceans killing our salmon fishery?”

We all know the answer.

Solveigh Harrison,
Sunshine Coast


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