Power to the People

Inspired Initiatives

Episode #6

Sechelt, BC

The shíshálh (Sechelt) Nation is located on the south coast of British Columbia in a territory gifted with steep mountains, fast flowing rivers and streams. Harnessing the natural power of gravity and water is now empowering their community through ‘run-of-the-river’ hydroelectric energy.

Resiliency and sustainability are apt descriptions of the shíshálh (Sechelt) Nation. With a pre-contact population of over 25,000 people, the history of the shíshálh people has been marred by small pox and residential school. However, the abundant ocean, mountains and rivers surrounding them continues to ground their culture, their traditional foods and now, long term jobs and economic opportunity. In partnership with one of Canada’s leading clean energy developers, the shíshálh Nation is creating the Narrows Inlet ‘run-of-the-river’ hydro project. Unlike large hydroelectric dams that create artificial reservoirs to control the flow of water and create energy, run-of-the-river is smaller scale hydro that harnesses power from the natural flow of rivers and streams without adversely affecting the natural habitat.

Host Melina Laboucan-Massimo travels to BC’s Sunshine Coast to visit the shíshálh Nation and examine their rationale for developing the Narrows Inlet run-of-the-river hydro project. To see how small-scale hydro can drive economic and social benefits, Melina heads across the Howe Sound where the Squamish Nation’s successful Culliton Creek hydro project is already creating revenue to enhance their cultural and language programs.

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