export Energy or preserve bute inlet?



In 1864 Victoria businessman Alfred Waddington set out to build a road, and hopefully his fortune, from Bute Inlet into the interior Cariboo gold fields through what was Chilcotin First Nations territory. Someone neglected to pay the Native Indians they'd hired as guides. Insults were probably traded, tempers exploded, precipitating BC's only real war, known as The Chilcotin War. It lasted most of a year, and by the time five Native leaders were publically hanged - having been betrayed by false promises from the white army leaders - other routes via Harrision Lake and through the Fraser Canyon route were preferred by the fledgling colonial government.


Which left the magnificent Bute Inlet pretty much isolated except for First Nations, sailors, fishermen, wildlife, and the like. Until now. All that isolation is about to change with the proposal by Plutonic Power Corporation (49 percent owned by General Electric) to dam 17 streams and rivers for the Bute Inlet project. They will also run over 400 km of transmission lines, clearcut strips of forest for transmission power cables and roads from there down to the Sunshine Coast, leaving scars on the landscape that tourism wants to attract people to.

"Bute Inlet is one of the world's most spectacular places, and very few people know about it," says Rob Wood, who lives on Maurelle Island and has been taking people to the inlet for 30 years. The private power project wants to export electricity from Bute Inlet. "It should be serving lodges and villages in those areas," says Wood. "First Nations could come back and live in their ancestral lands and have a modern standard of living, instead of this ridiculous hydro-electric scheme. It should bring people to the power, instead of power to the people."


When the BC Liberal government brought in Bill 30, "It short-circuited conventional public participation," says Wood. The regional districts and municipalities used to have public hearings to rezone bylaws in these land issues, such as the one in Sechelt ten years ago, where public opinion shut down a huge LNG proposal at McNab Creek. There they had public participation. That incident probably provoked Bill 30, which allows these private, and often foreign, corporations to start a land grab of our natural resources, thanks to the privatization of BC resources by our Liberal government, and that gag order which circumvents public scrutiny.


More information at:


back to top

Wilderness Travels ©2009 Wild West Communications