Two rivers project made province what it is today

New book marks 50th anniversary of BC Hydro, proceeds to Vancouver Children’s Hospital

  • Dec. 27, 2012 6:00 p.m.

A special book is floating around the Cranbrook area, one that should prove of interest to many local residents.

“Voices from Two Rivers: Harnessing the Power of the Peace and Columbia,” by Meg Stanley, has been produced to mark the 50th anniversary of BC Hydro, which is this year, 2012.

The book details a significant period of B.C. history. It explores W.A.C. Bennett’s “Two Rivers” policy of of hydroelectric development on the Peace and Columbia Rivers from 1962 to 1985. It is divided into two sections, one on each river system.

“B.C. wouldn’t be what it is today without these two projects,” said Ron Tarr, a member of the BC Hydro Power Pioneers, who are distributing the books around the province.

According to a review by Jenny Clayton in the British Columbian Quarterly, the book’s chapters focus on the history of the rivers before dam construction, visions of power, remaking the rivers, camp and community and impacts on residents and environments.

“Stanley’s goal is not the ‘present the Two Rivers policy as good or bad,’ but to ‘draw out the voices and acknowledge the various ways in which the Two Rivers policy was understood and experienced,’” the review cites.

Tarr says the book doesn’t shy away from examining the disruptions the projects caused, and well as the achievements. “It’s quite balanced that way.”

How ever many are left over after the books have been gifted out to libraries and schools are to be sold, for $50 each, with all proceeds going to the Vancouver Children’s Hospital.

Tarr said he has made donations of the book to local schools, the Cranbrook Public Library, and seniors’ facilities.

The BC Power Pioneers is a group formed of retired BC Hydro employees, whose service focus is to benefit children and seniors. The organization has been in existence for 25 years. And the book project is part of a larger idea, as Tarr explained.

“About four years ago (the Power Pioneers) took on a project called the ‘Miracle Million,’” Tarr said. “The goal is to raise $1 million for the Vancouver Children’s Hospital. So far, about three quarters of that has been raised.”

The money will go towards the construction of a large aquarium at the hospital, “for instruction and amusement.”

The project is aimed at the age group of two to eight years old. “We’re very happy to be part of this,” Tarr said.

Anyone interested in acquiring a copy of “Voices from Two Rivers: Harnessing the Power of the Peace and Columbia,” can contact Ron Tarr at artarr@shaw.ca, or call 8159.

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