Northland Power has made an application through BC Front Desk to install meteorological towers east of Lake Country between Dee Lake and Beaver Lake on Crown land.
Meteorological towers measure the amount and consistency of wind in an area and are considered the first step to potential wind farm development.
The application came before the Central Okanagan Regional District on Feb. 21. The application was conditionally supported subject to a lengthy list of conditions put forward in the CORD meeting.
In some ways the Northland Power application is nothing new. A different company let its meteorological tower project lapse and Northland has apparently stepped forward to test the possibilities.
That doesn’t mean past concerns have gone away, said Lake Country Mayor James Baker. “Oversight is the issue. Forest and range practices have vastly improved but no one over sees this sector.”
The application covers approximately 4,000 hectares, practically all the land between the two reservoirs. While the application is intended to use existing logging and back country roads to install the towers, Baker said activity in the water shed must be closely monitored due to run off water in the area.
“We do a cost benefit analysis and there is more benefit to clean drinking water than intrusive work for a few kilowatts of energy.”
Baker is satisfied that the conditions attached to the meteorological tower installation are sufficient and that any further work will not happen without CORD input. However, he did believe there could be a way for the towers to be installed without being overly intrusive.
The application support conditions include receipt of approval from the District of Lake Country.
In a response from Northland Power spokesperson David Chung Atkinson, the meteorological towers installation may be further off than the application suggests. “We have no plans yet to install meteorological towers.
“It requires a period to consult First Nations, this is the absolute beginning of a very long process and long study period.”
The Okanagan Indian Band acknowledged it had been contacted by Northland Power but made no further comment.
The application is available for viewing at the Central Okanagan Regional District website. www.regionaldistrict.com.