I was shocked and surprised at the careless and inaccurate statements by former Energy minister Jim Kenyon in your news item A Party Divided, Yukon News, May 18th.
Kenyon dismissed Atlin residents’ concerns about Yukon Energy Corporation’s proposed Atlin Lake storage project, stating that those concerns were based on “misinformation.”
I can assure Kenyon that the residents of Atlin have made it their business to be very well informed about YEC’s proposed project, as it threatens the ecology of Atlin Lake, Atlin River, shoreline properties and the recreational use and navigability of the Atlin River.
I also find Kenyon’s explanation of YEC’s project puzzling.
“All we’re doing is let the level of the lake rise normally, and drop normally, but stopping it just before the end, letting the three inches go out over a slower time period,” he said. “It’s nothing to do with raising the level of the lake.”
The most recent information provided by YEC to the Atlin community shows two project alternatives, both showing a control structure on the Atlin River.
YEC’s information describes a concept to hold Atlin Lake up to one metre above its natural drop-off level for a period of several months, releasing it over the winter months and drawing it down below its natural level in early spring.
At no point had we been given a figure of a three-inch variation by YEC. I wonder where Kenyon got that puzzling number.
But the variance between three inches and three feet aside, the important point is that YEC’s dam, with a control structure on the Atlin River, would change the natural levels of Atlin Lake. And doing so would be against provisions in the British Columbia Park Act as it would disturb and exploit water within Atlin Provincial Park.
More than one-third of Atlin Lake is within the boundaries of Atlin Provincial Park, a class “A” park set aside by the BC government for its “special wilderness qualities.” YEC’s project, therefore, would not be allowed by the BC government.
Kenyon also states a relatively quick and easy stopgap measure for energy would be to connect to Atlin’s Pine Creek hydro facility, which has one megawatt of power to spare. Build a 100-kilometre-long transmission line for one megawatt of power? How economical is that?
Perhaps it would be best for Kenyon to do some homework on the subject by first checking Yukon Energy’s blog of September 10, 2010, where the corporation states: a) there is not enough existing power at Pine Creek to meet requirements and, b) as it stands, it is not economically feasible to connect to it.
I suggest in the future that Kenyon do a little research before speaking publicly and dismissing an entire community as “misinformed” because it very much appears that, in this instance, it is he who is lacking the correct information.