Derek Hutchinson

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Project Manager  - Ledcor Group of Companies

Development Manager  - Ledcor Group of Companies

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Derek Hutchinson of Ledcor confirmed this week that he formally withdrew Ledcor's application for 56 hectares (138 acres) of land to put a 50-metre (164-foot) tower in the centre of the estuary just below the high tide mark. Hutchinson wrote in a letter to Squamish Mayor Ian Sutherland that further investment in studying the wind potential in Squamish would not be prudent. "Ledcor is abandoning its investigative permit and licence of occupation applications with Land and Water B.C.," Hutchinson wrote.

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"The challenge of going further east is that there's a band of rock that we'd have to go through," said Derek Hutchinson, Ledcor's project manager for the Fitzsimmons Creek IPP."That's expensive."The new route could also present challenges for putting the pipe underground as originally planned.An above-ground option, though it could be cheaper, could also appear unsightly."We'd certainly try and put it underground because it's out of site, out of mind," said Hutchinson."I guess the only qualification it would have is if there's a band of rock through there or these gully crossings, then it may make sense to have it above ground."The route could also present some aesthetic challenges, said Hutchinson."There are going to be additional costs and we really need to discuss those as to what can be done, so having that external to Ledcor's construction company makes that a lot clearer," said Hutchinson.The company is involved in a handful of independent power projects in the Sea to Sky corridor, most notably the proposed project on the Ashlu Creek north of Squamish, which is currently working its way through the approval process at the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District.Kayakers and local residents have expressed opposition to the Ashlu project.

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But Ledcor Power Inc. development manager Derek Hutchinson says he expects many of the recent applications will fall by the wayside in the months ahead.Hutchinson speculates that some were submitted merely to head off competing claims for a potentially productive stream -- without consideration of the viability of the project.He said putting in large numbers of applications -- Ledcor has more than two dozen -- was seen as risk management by many companies that participated in the recent rush."That was certainly the case.Any one of these variables can mean that the project is not economic," Hutchinson said."You've got to say, 'Well if I start with 50, how many are going to be successful, five?'"There is this huge volume, but how many of them are actually going to be successful and actually get built?I'd think that number is relatively small."At Ledcor's Fitzsimmons Creek project in Whistler, Hutchinson had to satisfy federal, provincial, regional and municipal government regulators -- with the Squamish-Lillooet regional district seizing the opportunity to award itself royalties from the project, apparently in frustration over its relationship with the province.He also had to satisfy Blackcomb ski-hill operators who use the same water for snowmaking that Ledcor will tap into for its hydro energy, and nearby condo owners worried about the hum from the powerhouse that will be located about 300 metres away.

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