For anyone who has never been to Juskatla Narrows, there is really no place like it on Earth. First and foremost it is part of a unique ecosystem that teems with life. A quick list would include herring, needlefish, sea-run cutthroat, clams, crabs, flocks of birds, river otters, seals, urchins… Unfortunately, local timber interests have already logged this area to within an inch of its life, and now it seems that it’s being targeted for a tidal energy project.
There is so much wrong here it’s hard to know where to start. However, for the sake of brevity, let’s break it down to process and product. It seems odd that there was DFO approval prior to any consultation with stakeholders. As far as I know, local landowners, anglers, kayakers, food gatherers, and tour operators were not given any chance to submit input. The meeting in Queen Charlotte was not advertised in Port Clements, and many of us here only heard about it after the fact.No one is going to argue that there are better sources of energy than diesel.
However, dropping a hydroelectric plant into Juskatla Narrows simply because video footage reveals a scoured rock and boulder substrate shows a complete lack of familiarity with the area.
There is an amazing array of life that moves with the tide and passes back and forth through this spot; huge balls of feed followed by large schools of fish and any number of seals. It seems impossible to believe that mooring and running a turbine will not adversely impact upon the resident sea life.The surprisingly upbeat story in the Observer is only part of the discussion. There is a cost associated with this new technology. Sacrificing Juskatla Narrows to potentially reduce dependence on diesel isn’t something that should be decided lightly. This project needs to be put on hold until there is further study and proper consultation.