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RemAcct2
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  Quote RemAcct2 Replybullet Topic: Ashlu Update
    Posted: 27 Aug 2007 at 7:57pm

So, what I say here will probably be controversial, but here goes...

 

Several of us went up to the Ashlu this weekend.  There were stories of limited access and of Ledcor preventing boaters from getting up.  What we found was that the access has vastly improved, thanks to Ledcor's road into the intake along with some folks who evidently cleared out the slide a bit further up the road.  The dam is well under construction with the powerhouse complex probably at 50% completion and the intake at 20%.  The intake will divert water from the lower 1/4 of the mini-mine and all of commitment canyon (I am not familiar with these runs - this is what Dave told me when we scoped things out).  Given that commitment canyon requires extremely low flows, this could actually increase its season, but that remains to be seen (the folks who actually run this can let us know if this is actually the case).

 

Ultimately, it was quite clear in the end that Ledcor had the ear of the provincial government.  While it was unexpected that the provincial government would override the local jurisdiction, it wasn't that surprising given the pinch BC is feeling to remain self-sufficient from a power perspective, while continuing to sell us (Washington) power under its treaty obligations.  The sad thing, of course, is that 49MW isnít a whole lot, given the overall impact.  I am honestly a bit surprised Ledcor can make the numbers pencil given the scope of the construction project.

 

What is disappointing to me is that the opponents were so shrill, so ineffective, that no concessions were gained.  Concessions are a common tactic AW employs, and very beneficial to the boating community.  If the folks in Squamish had been a bit more tactical towards the end of the debate, perhaps we could have gotten an improved, maintained road all the way up to the play run put-in, and perhaps there could have also been guaranteed flows during the late-summer ashlu boating season for commitment canyon and the mini-mine.

 

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  Quote James Replybullet Posted: 27 Aug 2007 at 8:47pm
How was the Elaho?
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  Quote RemAcct2 Replybullet Posted: 27 Aug 2007 at 8:51pm
Fear Canyon was way, way too high.  Locals say it will be another 6 weeks or so (at least to the levels I'd be comfortable with).  I am going to go back in the next week or two (weekend after labor day) for the mini-mine when the levels have come down a wee bit.
 
Bizare year - there were still snowfields that should have been gone two months ago.  I actualy saw snowfields on non-north exposures, and below the tree line.  When locals said fear canyon was still too high, Dave wanted to look at it to see for himself.  Afterwards, I think he was just shaking his head in disbelief.
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  Quote James Replybullet Posted: 27 Aug 2007 at 9:43pm
So what are the recommended levels for Fear Canyon?
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  Quote RemAcct2 Replybullet Posted: 27 Aug 2007 at 10:00pm
Someone said 50 CMS.  Ryan took a bunch of pics of fear at current levels...hopefully he will upload soon.
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  Quote James Replybullet Posted: 27 Aug 2007 at 10:02pm
So what did you end up boating?
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  Quote RemAcct2 Replybullet Posted: 27 Aug 2007 at 10:16pm
Elaho play run, Ashlu play run, Part of the Cheak canyon, and cal-cheak play run.
 
I am going back for the mini-mine when the levels drop a wee bit (and I might be up for the Callaghan).  Fear canyon is going to be a wait...
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  Quote toddg Replybullet Posted: 28 Aug 2007 at 9:44am
Originally posted by leifkirchoff

What is disappointing to me is that the opponents were so shrill, so ineffective, that no concessions were gained.  Concessions are a common tactic AW employs, and very beneficial to the boating community.  If the folks in Squamish had been a bit more tactical towards the end of the debate, perhaps we could have gotten an improved, maintained road all the way up to the play run put-in, and perhaps there could have also been guaranteed flows during the late-summer ashlu boating season for commitment canyon and the mini-mine.

 

Just my thoughts...for what they are worth.

 



the main difference between AW  & the opposition -- "the folks in squamish" -- is that AW is a organization with salaried employees & a very vocal/active/affluent constituency. they are in the business of organizing effective opposition. the "shrill" & "ineffective" opposition to the ashlu project are, one, tiny in number, two, non-financially backe, &, three, vastly inexperienced at mounting effective campaigns against government-backed corporations. 

sorry about your bumpy ride to the play run. but to those of us who have been passionate about the ashlu for years, an "improved, maintained road" & "guaranteed flows" in late summer (those are already guaranteed by nature) are the LAST THING we are interested in.  our involvement in this issue had nothing to do with our selfish kayaking or ease-of-shuttle interests. the "if you can't beat em, join em" mentality that you are backing was never part of an activist stance. access & flows on the ashlu were just fine for the past eternity.

my bro bryan more or less took a year-long time-out from his life to oppose a dam being built in that special canyon, not because it affects kayaking, but because it's simply the wrong place for a development of that nature & because the Bill 30 loophole -- the Ashlu Bill -- has created the current free-for-all on hydro licenses. (when's the last time you checked the list of current hydro proposals in BC? it is sickening.)  bryan's efforts are the reason you ever heard anything about this issue in the first place. for you to suggest that he should have, as an ACTIVIST, grabbed ankle & turned his attention to securing concessions so that you wouldn't have to go into 4-wheel on your way to the Play run is not only laughable, but a slap in the face. 
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  Quote Erik Replybullet Posted: 28 Aug 2007 at 9:50am
*yawn*

Sweet Ashlu update.  VERY informative.

You know there are runs above the play run on The Ashlu?  Would you say that the locals should have rallied for road concessions all the way up the valley (and beyond), or just up to the play run where your scope of knowledge ends abruptly.

Grow up and quit reading Ledcor's website.
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  Quote justin Replybullet Posted: 28 Aug 2007 at 10:20am
I was up at the Ashlu with Leif and I guess I saw a much different picture.  The Canyon looks a lot like the drive from Vancouver to Whistler, a giant scar on what was a beautiful place.  Rugged roads are a good thing in my opinion.  It's what keeps the crowds away from the river, I hate not making it into an eddy because it is full of other people.  I like being there with a small group and the hike in/out made it feel like a true wilderness experience.  Damns are also horrible in my opinion because they prevent salmon etc from returning to their spawning grounds and aslo change the erosion etc patterns.  I just hope that in the future, B.C. will hold on to it's wildness because that is what makes it a place worth visiting.
 


Edited by justin - 28 Aug 2007 at 10:23am
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  Quote PowWrangler Replybullet Posted: 28 Aug 2007 at 10:20am
Ya, I wasn't go to say anything.......but Leif, not many of us want to hear it.  Thanks for playing.
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  Quote ashleygoesdisco Replybullet Posted: 28 Aug 2007 at 11:01am
Originally posted by justin

like being there with a small group and the hike in/out made it feel like a true wilderness experience....  I just hope that in the future, B.C. will hold on to it's wildness because that is what makes it a place worth visiting.
 


The weekend I spent boating in BC was awesome. You get out to the middle of nowhere, thinking, 'there better be a #%@&ing river out here'. No gas for miles, you sure better bring a lot of food with you, cause there isn't anywhere to buy it. The river isn't next to a highway, or completely swamped with commercial raft trips. Being paddlers, we get access to some amazing places, because we float down the river to them. Not everyone can do that, and it's maybe a little bit selfish, but I like to think that I am one of a few people that have seen certain places, because I've taken the time to learn the skills that get me down more dangerous rivers than the average joe with an inner tube. Now, whitewater parks are great, its nice to have a spot where you can get your freestyle fix, without worrying about shuttle. The Wenatchee Festival Weekend is GREAT. I like being able to put on the river, knowing that there will be other people around, the entire time. But part of the thrill of paddling, for me, is being out in the middle of the woods, away from most of the roads, with a few other people, exploring the river. One of these days, I hope to be fortunate enough to participate in an expedition trip, maybe even a first decent, the thought of all the risk associated with those scares me, quite a bit, but that's why I'm a boater. Perhaps this is why I like the White Salmon so much, because if you time your run right, you won't see any other boaters, and its quite peaceful to know you have the river to yourself, and there wont be cars driving by honking their horn at your yellow boat.

JMHO.


Edited by ashleygoesdisco - 28 Aug 2007 at 11:04am
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  Quote huckin harms Replybullet Posted: 28 Aug 2007 at 11:25am
mmm....
 
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  Quote RemAcct2 Replybullet Posted: 28 Aug 2007 at 11:26am

It would help if  you guys actually read what I wrote.  While the project is unfortunate, I wanted to make the point that access is not an issue.  There were quite a few locals that said that it wasn't possible to get up there, and is seems that there is quite a bit of incorrect access information floating around.  We do owe a great deal to whomever went up and cleared out the slide on the way to the play run put in.

 

I think a few posts made my point.  Time to move on, guys.  The project is being built - you might as well appreciate the improved access and move on to try to fight the next project.  Some of the comments here remind me of the local guy we spoke to who said he was so angry about the project he wasn't planning to boat the Ashlu again.  Attitudes like this do nothing to help raise public awareness of these issues, and are rather similar to how 3 year olds try to get their way.  While I have no basis for knowing, I'd guess this is why the festival has been canceled this year.  I think some folks think I like the fact a dam is being built - this is, of course, not the case.  I guess I open myself up to insults and name calling by being a bit to pragmatic about things - silly me.

 

I think that, in moving on, there are a few lessons to be learned.  One significant lesson should be to argue against a project on solid facts.  Doing a Google search demonstrates that the opponents to the project frequently repeated several inaccuracies.  One is that the project would destroy fish runs.  This is, of course, not true.  There are no salmon runs due to the violence of the canyon (there are trout in the upper river areas, I am told).  Second, there have been numerous claims that the project would destroy old growth forests.  Of course, the valley has been logged, and there is certainly no old growth anywhere near the existing roads.  Finally, people have referred to the project as a dam, when in fact; it is a run-of-river diversion with no water storage.  None of these issues justify the dam, but using inaccurate facts as a means to stop the project hinders those efforts.  You donít get credibility with the public unless you have your facts straight.

 

There are something like 400-500 proposed micro-hydro projects in BC.  There are this many because the permitting for these small projects is vastly easier than a larger project.  While conservation is important, there will be the requirement for new projects.  Ultimately, when it comes to hydro, I believe that the e

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  Quote toddg Replybullet Posted: 28 Aug 2007 at 12:22pm
Originally posted by leifkirchoff

It would help if  you guys actually read what I wrote.


i responded *directly* to your knocks on the opposition not securing what you would consider to be adequate concessions. i quoted you & then responded. don't get all defensive.. stay on topic.


Originally posted by leifkirchoff

  While the project is unfortunate, I wanted to make the point that access is not an issue.  There were quite a few locals that said that it wasn't possible to get up there, and is seems that there is quite a bit of incorrect access information floating around.  We do owe a great deal to whomever went up and cleared out the slide on the way to the play run put in.


In one breath access is not an issue, but in the next you say that the opposition should have secured better road maintenance as part of a concessions deal. Your post, not me putting words in your mouth.

Originally posted by leifkirchoff

I think a few posts made my point.  Time to move on, guys.  The project is being built - you might as well appreciate the improved access and move on to try to fight the next project.
 


this is arrogant.  and presumptuous. way before you got busy planning your first weekend trip to the ashlu, those who were involved in the ashlu battle were in fact "moving on" & "fighting the next project" & organizing.   & again, those of us who love the ashlu could give a shit about the "improved access". but thanks for the recommendation anyway.


[QUOTE=leifkirchoff] Some of the comments here remind me of the local guy we spoke to who said he was so angry about the project he wasn't planning to boat the Ashlu again.  Attitudes lik

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  Quote justin Replybullet Posted: 28 Aug 2007 at 12:40pm
The people who cleared the landslide where a bunch of east coast boaters who rented trucks and winches and spent their week up there clearing the road.  We do owe them some thanks.  I wasn't trying to start an argument, I was just posting my opinion.
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  Quote justin Replybullet Posted: 28 Aug 2007 at 12:55pm
http://www.ashlu.info/
the above website has a lot of pretty good info, including a quicktime version of 49 megawats.  A film made by a local of the Ashlu.
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  Quote huckin harms Replybullet Posted: 28 Aug 2007 at 1:20pm
Ledcor mo fos
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  Quote cronar Replybullet Posted: 28 Aug 2007 at 1:23pm
Todd, you make good observations on the Ashlu and what it means for other BC rivers and perhaps region wide.  The pressure has been on a number of the drainages in BC for development for years.  Callahan will go next after the Olympics are done.  But then they were saying that 10 years ago in Whistler.  Perhaps Bryan's efforst will get people more motivated beyond the local municipalities and affect change. 

Lief, I wouldn't call your view pragmatic, maybe more defeatest.  But at the same time you do mention  we should widen our scope when considering power sources.  But I'm not slinging arrows.  You tried making your point, maybe not as well as you could have.

Unfortuantely, there's no clear answer, because it's rooted in behavior.  There's obviously a market for cheap power, given that power consumption in the US doubled between 2000 and 2005.  Last time I checked the population didn't double over that time, so something else occurred.  Otherwise projects like the Ashlu wouldn't pencil, even with government subsidies.  This Internet thing is cool and all.  I like being able to shop and do research online, but with the rise of Web 2.0 we have created an issue with regards to available resources.  Given the massive amounts of power required to run it, we are in essences doing this to ourselves.  Sites like this and TRL are nice, but they contribute to the overall problem.  All this stuff has to be stored somewhere and that requires a computer(s) and the required air-conditioning.  So maybe the answer is looking at us in the mirror.

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  Quote tradguy2 Replybullet Posted: 28 Aug 2007 at 1:31pm

Hey guys, try to remember we are all on the same side.   It might be hard to tell by reading this thread, but I suspect Lief and Todd agree on more than than they disagree on.  (i.e. both of them were against the project and think something needs to be done in order to change the current system)

One point of clarification concerning access.  While the quality of the road may limit access by some vehicles Ledcor is not currently preventing access to the area.  Let's all hope this continues to be the case. 


Edited by tradguy2 - 28 Aug 2007 at 1:32pm
... preparing for a river beating!     
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  Quote RemAcct2 Replybullet Posted: 28 Aug 2007 at 1:37pm
Regarding servers, it certainly isn't a good sign to see Google and Microsoft building data centers next to dams...
 
I think regarding access, it is unlikely there would be any change to access.  The road is a forestry road so I would assume Ledcor can't legally can block access (but I don't know what rules are up in BC).  I would tend to guess that if they were going to block access, they would have done it.  They do want to take down license plates at the security checkpoint.
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  Quote erikSANDSTROM Replybullet Posted: 28 Aug 2007 at 1:50pm
Nice Leif. ToddG spent some time on that response. Be proud!

I second the *yawn* sentiment.
This river don't go to Aintry. You done taken a wrong turn.
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  Quote justin Replybullet Posted: 28 Aug 2007 at 1:55pm
Ledcor doesn't have the road closed right now, but they had closed it earlier.
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  Quote toddg Replybullet Posted: 28 Aug 2007 at 2:17pm
Originally posted by tradguy2

Hey guys, try to remember we are all on the same side.   It might be hard to tell by reading this thread, but I suspect Lief and Todd agree on more than than they disagree on.  (i.e. both of them were against the project and think something needs to be done in order to change the current system)

One point of clarification concerning access.  While the quality of the road may limit access by some vehicles Ledcor is not currently preventing access to the area.  Let's all hope this continues to be the case. 


OK, fair enough .. benefit of doubt given .. & i'll back off after this, i promise ..

BUT.. it's really hard to stomach the accusation that the opposition was so "shrill" & "ineffective" because they/we didn't push for more "concessions" as AW would have done.  (& again, I'm just responding to what's written in the original post)  There is no equivalent to AW in canada. What little opposition there was, was grassroots as hell & born out of the whitewater community .. regular people with jobs & families & lives outside of activism.  Apples to apples --  you can't compare the loss of the Ashlu to any of AW's "wins" & then wag yer finger at the Squamish locals for doing it all wrong .. especially when the government-corporate steamroller has the power to re-write legislation to make shit happen .. and then tell us it's "time to move on", enjoy the new improved road access, suckers. 

Also for true "effectiveness", I'd like to point out that, as has been noted, the Ashlu should & is being leveraged as a wake-up call --  the "warning" that many many many more amazing watersheds are on the auction block.     That a coalition of independent & business groups from across several industries has formed in the wake of the Ashlu loss to raise awareness  to the Bill 30 mess .... That bryan's 49MW has been accepted into about a half-dozen film festivals (including this onehttp://www.planetinfocus.org/), & is being duped & distributed on dvd suggests that maybe the opposition's "effectiveness" is just getting started & that the goal is much bigger than just the Ashlu.  
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  Quote tradguy2 Replybullet Posted: 28 Aug 2007 at 2:33pm
I agree Todd, it is hard to fault the crew in Squamish for fighting the good fight.  Maybe they didn't do everything the best way, but they did the best they could givin their limited rescources and the daunting scale of the undertaking. 
Ironically, referring to the opposition as "shrill and innefective" is well...  "shrill an innefective".  If you believe there are more effective ways to make the case against development of drainages in BC then get involved with the process.  I suspect everyone would be willing to listen to new ideas. 
... preparing for a river beating!     
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