Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Hitting Close to Home - Pitt River

I was listening to the news this morning and I heard that there are plans to put power generation plants on all of the tributaries of the Pitt River.  This is a river that I have canoed on and crossed countless times.  It separates Maple Ridge, where I grew up, from Vancouver. 

The first thing I thought of was the cliche of Hitler's Germany where they come for your neighbour and you don't say anything, then they come for you and there is no one else to say something for you.  We hear of so many resource development projects and environmental disasters but it is different when it comes to our homes.  It is like any other issue, poverty, disaster, sickness, etc.  Experiencing it at home is a lot different than seeing it on TV or hearing about it.  

When I hear about the Pitt River I think of playing there as a child, camping with a bunch of friends... This is one of the scenes on which the stage of my childhood was played out and even though I haven't been there in years, and probably won't go back for a lot more years.  I have a connection to the land there.  I have stories there.  In aboriginal thought, I am beginning to create a claim to the land.

The other half of the story is quite interesting as well.  This project is part of a larger effort by the BC government to become electrically self sufficient in fifteen years.  The plot thickens with the fact that this project is being done by a private company.  So sales and profit should be read into the self description of the project as "low impact and green."  I like what Rafe Mair had to say... "I have lived a long life and have never heard so much bull shit"

But the fact still remains, Pitt Meadows is a fairly large city and Pitt River is a beautiful place, why should the impact of the city be exported to a rural area? ... so often land currently occupied by aboriginal people.