49 Megawatts, made by Bryan Smith, a kayaker who discovered that a dam was going to be built
on one of his favourite paddling places, the Ashlu River near Squamish. His response, after initially
being incredulous that anybody would want to develop such a beautiful, natural setting, was to
make a film.
His 30-minute documentary 49 Megawatts, completed earlier this year, shows just how easy it is
to turn a healthy, attractive ecosystem into a gravel pit in the name of “green energy.”
Regular readers of this magazine will know something of the trouble at the Ashlu. (Stolen Rivers, a special feature on independent power projects, was first published in Common Ground in October 2006 and again in October 2007). The independent power project (IPP) proposed for the Ashlu is one of potentially hundreds that the BC Liberals are pushing to implement on rivers across the province. With a brazenness that’s become a hallmark of the province’s dealings with local communities, when local government voted against Ledcor’s IPP permit for the Ashlu, the province introduced Bill 30 to override its decision.
Smith brings together a commendable range of voices – industry experts, professionals, mayors Whistler and Squamish), academics, energy specialists and locals – to grapple with the issues. The film points out that the IPP in question, which involves boring a tunnel through a mountain, is clearly not “small” – defined as under 50 megawatts by law – and should have undergone a more rigorous public planning process.
Conspicuously absent are spokespersons from Ledcor, the provincial government and the Squamish Nation, who after initially opposing the project came out in support of it. Smith says they declined to do interviews.
Dec 17, 2007, 18:39:40
Number of files