I attended a public meeting in Nelson in the spring of 2013, and another in the spring of 2014 at which BC Hydro laid out its plan to dredge the Grohman Narrows.
Grohman Narrows is the natural restriction that maintains the water level of Kootenay Lake. It was partially removed twice in the past, once in the 19th century, and once in the 20th century. You can see the unnatural piles on the bank just downstream of Grohman Creek, as they didn’t concern themselves with levelling it up or making it look good back then. I am sure that both previous dredgings did considerable damage to the ecosystem, but no one cared back then.
Now it is the 21st century, and BC Hydro wants to remove whatever remains of the natural protection for Kootenay Lake levels. Their plan is to then control the level by way of the Corra Linn dam. They then plan to lower the level in the early spring to make room for the spring flush.
While Kootenay Lake is severely affected by the dams on the system, to date it still looks and feels like a natural lake. The Arrow Lakes on the other hand do not look or feel natural, because they have been transformed into a reservoir. BC Hydro plans to do the same for Kootenay Lake … make it unnatural.
At the last meeting in the spring of 2014, I stood up and stated my complete opposition to this proposal, and invited all those present to join me in order to let BC Hydro know that their plan didn’t please everyone. Not one other person at that meeting took the opportunity to join me, so I have to assume that they all agree with allowing BC Hydro proceed.
They have recently informed me that they plan to have another meeting in the fall of 2015. I am concerned that my one voice in opposition may not be enough to convince them that this is a hair-brained scheme. I know others in the Kootenays have had enough of BC Hydro’s arrogant destruction of our environment. I sure would like some company at that next public meeting.