Recently the District of Barriere received a copy of a letter sent by Dag Sharman, community relations manager at BC Hydro to Minister Terry Lake, responding to Minister Lake’s letter around the power supply to the North Thompson Valley.
In the letter Mr. Sharman mentions that the reliability of the power supply here in the valley is below the provincial average. Mr. Sharman goes on to say that B.C. Hydro must balance the needs of all BC Hydro customers in determining the allocation of capital resources and the resultant impact on customer rates. Mr. Sharman also touches on the possibility that an increase to the available capacity is being studied.
So, is BC Hydro saying that providing reliable hydro power at a capacity level that will not only reliably service the current needs of the residents, but one that will allow for the future growth our rural communities need to survive is not as important as building an additional service to areas like the Lower Mainland?
The Lower Mainland has natural gas as an alternative power supply for things like heat. Heat is a good thing in the winter. The Lower Mainland also has a number of hospitals and homes for seniors.
Here in the valley we are participating in the provincial health plan and encouraging our seniors to stay in their homes as long as they can. We want them to be close to family and friends in their sunset years.
It appears though that when the power goes out, which it does regularly, the sun is about the only thing that will be heating their homes. Remember, almost all heating units require hydro power to operate.
I would hate to think of the fall out in public opinion towards BC Hydro if there is a power outage and we find a senior frozen in their home clutching their recent hydro bill, trying to phone the outage number on their cordless phone that won’t work when the power is out.
Perhaps we will find a senior stuck to the ice on the walkway to the woodshed after they have fallen trying to get firewood. Their family thought they had things arranged when they bought that alarm that calls when the senior falls. Little did they know the alarm needs power to stay charged so it can make the call when the senior cannot.
About that time it would look like we should have bundled gramps or grandma off to the seniors home in the city so they can live out their days with a bunch of strangers after having to give away their dog and saying goodbye to all their friends and neighbours that they have known over a lifetime in our rural community.
To add to the joy, we can bundle the kids up and get out on the highway to see if we can survive another trip to town for a visit.
If we survive the frustrated drivers passing on blind corners, and the trucks trying to run us over, we can all enjoy visiting with our loved ones and hear how much they like their cell, I mean room.
The fact that Minister Lake is still trying to get BC Hydro to come to the table and seek a solution gives me some hope.
Rural communities are an important part of the economy in B.C., and need support to prosper and grow. Both of our local MLAs, Ministers Lake and Stone, have been working on solutions to the problems.
There is a solution to every problem. Working together we can find the answers.
– Bill Humphreys is the mayor of Barriere