Hi All, yes this has reared its ugly head once more. Can I urgently ask that you contact your local Council Representative and ask them to vote against this.
We fought Omagh District Council alongside FASTA and the Ulster Angling Federation (UAF)for 7 long years from 2007 to 2014 regarding this blot on the river until the Hydro station was eventually built. Omagh Anglers, FASTA and the UAF tried everything to prevent this going ahead and even met with the Environment Minister , Alex Attwood. I argued and proved that lies had been told in its development by employees of NIEA and that objections were omitted. However, at the time a Councillor told us this was a scheme that the council had inherited and it would be going ahead whether the Anglers liked it or not. Cllr Josephine Deehan stated in the Chamber when I delivered a presentation to the Councillors(alongside Jim Haughey UAF), that “We will look after your wee fish”.
We have all seen how well that has gone when you consider the amount of pollution incidents in our rivers in this area over the last three years. This looking after was clearly evidenced on the day the turbine was first turned on and the two weirs run completely dry. This happened in March 2016 and this led to all the juvenile fish stocks being at the mercy of crows and jackdaws and herons. This was highlighted to the NIEA and the scheme was closed for a further year until 2017
At a time when salmon numbers are in dangerous decline why are our Council representatives insistent in starting up this scheme again. When you talk to your local Councillor, ask them how much more do we as ratepayers have to pay towards another “White Elephant” in our District to match the Ulster History Park? How much will it take to repair this?. Ask them do the understand the operating licence and the water levels that must prevail in order for the turbine to operate. Ask them also how much money is this project likely to generate in terms of savings and in terms of overall spend when is it likely to pay for itself. They talk about putting the scheme out to a 3rd party operator. Who would take this on knowing that the turbine cannot run for at least 5 months of the year due to low water levels. How can OFFGEN have given a green light to something that isn’t working and hasn’t worked in several years. That is unbelievable.
To date over £1.3 million has been spent by an extinct council (ODC)on a scheme that should never have been implemented on a spate river due to varying flow regimes. Surely a new combined council would see the absurdity of throwing more money at a failed idea. Figures show that normally this type of project could take 20/25 years to break even. At what cost to the rivers environment and declining salmon numbers. We have seen for may years Fermanagh council highlight the positive attributes of angling and using angling to increase the number of visitors to the Fermanagh District. This does not occur in Omagh.
On listening in to the meeting of the Policy and Resources Committee I noted a Fermanagh Councillor point out the damage that the Ballyshannon Hydro electric plant caused to the Erne system. It has wiped out salmon stocks in Lough Erne totally which has been irreversible. He rightly pointed out we should not be interfering with Nature as if a mistake is made as in the case of the Erne it cannot be rectified.
TELL YOUR COUNCILLOR TO VOTE FOR THE REMOVAL OF THE CAMOWEN HYDROELECTRIC SCHEME COMPLETELY!
Councillor Mc Elduff pointed out that the voice of Anglers is very important in this area. make them listen to you,!!
It will take money to decommission the hydro, but at least that will be a positive outcome, no further obstacles to migrating salmon!
Make contact with your local councillor now.