Deadlines set for smart meter conversation, input

A deadline has been set for submitting comments to the Utilities Commission on the application to bring smart meters to the West Kootenay

A deadline has been set for people wishing to submit comments to the B.C. Utilities Commission on the application to bring smart meters to the West Kootenay, as well as for the need for a public input session in Trail.

People can offer comments prior to Friday, Sept. 7 on the need for public input sessions in Trail, according to a B.C. Utilities Commission (BCUC) notice of application released Aug. 16.

If there is enough interest and response, the BCUC will schedule a procedural conference “to address the process by which to continue the review of the application after and if community input sessions are held.”

FortisBC filed an application with the BCUC July 26 for the installation of around 115,000 meters in the West Kootenay and the Okanagan. The project has an estimated capital cost of approximately $47.7 million and is expected to commence in late 2013 and be completed by 2015.

People wishing to actively participate in the proceeding must register as interveners through the commission’s website at www.bcuc.com or in writing by Sept. 7.

In their registration, interveners must identify the issues they intend to pursue, and indicate the extent of their anticipated involvement in the review process.

Interveners will each receive a copy of all non-confidential correspondence and filed documentation, and must proved an email address if available.

FortisBC has requested the deadline for the approval of the application be July 20, 2013.

According to fire information officer Karlie Shaughnessy of the Southeast Fire Centre, Greater Trail is on the verge of extreme fire risks and fire wardens are not wasting any time.

“We have crews on standby,” Shaughnessy said, in light of the hot weather patterns this weekend.

Ron Lakeman, weather forecaster for the Southeast Fire Centre, said that Saturday and Sunday are expected to reach temperatures in the high 30-degree Celsius marks. He said that thunderstorms are predicted for Sunday night, which will increase the risk of fires.

Two spot-sized fires caused by lightning have already been extinguished northeast of the city. The first fire was three kilometres away from Champion Lake, and the second one northeast of Trail was roughly 0.2 hectares wide.

In the past week the Southeast Fire Centre has responded to 47 wildfires, 43 of which were caused by lightning.

The fire danger rating is currently high in the Southeast Fire Centre with risks of verging on extreme. Regions of the west coast, northern B.C. and Vancouver Island are also considered to be at high risk.

Since April 1, the Southeast Fire Centre has responded to 95 fires, and 34 per cent of these were human-caused.

Fires close to Greater Trail include a 1.5-hectare fire located 38 kilometres northwest of the city. The fire is 80 per cent contained and there are 20 personnel and one helicopter working on site.

The Skimmerhorn Mountain fire, east of Lister, is 56 hectares-wide and is 75 per cent contained.

The Five Mile Creek fire, nine kilometres northeast of Nelson, is 1.6 ha. and is 75 per cent contained. Thirteen personnel and two helicopters have been working on-site.

In addition, a fire prohibition that began in mid-July is still in effect across the Southern Interior until Sept. 19, but could be lifted earlier if weather permits. The ban prohibits burning any waste, slash or other materials, burning stubble or grass and the use of fireworks or burning barrels of any size in areas surrounding municipal boundaries.

Open burning and fireworks are not allowed in the City of Trail.