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B.C. Green MLA calls for protection of Hope’s Coquihalla River salmon population

Trans Mountain says they are following all regulations and has ‘taken great care’ at river site
Protect the Planet sent out images, videos and a press release documenting a reported early spawning season in the Coquihalla River in Hope. They want the government to intervene and stop the construction process of the Trans Mountain pipeline. (Submitted photo)

An MLA with the B.C. Greens weighed in on a pipeline project in Hope Wednesday.

Adam Olsen (Saanich North and the Islands) released a statement to media outlets in response to concerns from people in Hope that the construction of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion is endangering the Coquihalla River salmon population.

READ MORE: Group claims Trans Mountain pipeline construction killing salmon near Hope

“I am unsettled to hear that the Coquihalla River salmon population is being threatened during migration,” his statement read. “Salmon represent a key part of the ecosystem and it is unacceptable that they be placed in danger over the priorities of a fossil fuel company. With salmon stocks already on the decline in B.C., we simply cannot risk further damage to the population.”

He is urging Trans Mountain to halt work at the river until the migration is complete.

“The permit to trench the river was issued for a least-risk scenario,” he said. “Endangering the migration of a vulnerable keystone species is not a least-risk scenario. I ask the B.C. NDP government to join me in our call for the protection of this critical ecosystem.”

In a response to concerns about the early migration of salmon up the river, which is a tributary of the Fraser River, Trans Mountain said they are doing the work within guidelines given to them by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans and the BC Oil and Gas Commission.

“Great care is taken to preserve the environmental features around the river, such as the wildlife and aquatic habitat provided within the riparian zone. During the crossing of the Coquihalla River, diversion pumps are also being used to reduce flow through the excavation area and water monitoring is taking place throughout the construction process,” a media spokesperson wrote in an email.

Dr. Kate Tairyan has shared photos with the media of dead salmon in the river, some with bellies full of eggs. A Black Press reporter investigating the issue also witnessed both live and dead salmon in the area down river from the construction.

READ MORE: Pipeline construction in Hope will divert Coquihalla River this month


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Jessica Peters

About the Author: Jessica Peters

I began my career in 1999, covering communities across the Fraser Valley ever since.
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