Hydro project in Campbell River takes another step

BC Hydro is pushing ahead with its ambitious $1.35 billion project to upgrade the Campbell River power generating system, but is still awaiting final approval from the B.C. Utilities Commission.

On Tuesday, BC Hydro announced it will proceed with an environmental and regulatory review application for the John Hart upgrade. It has also posted a project procurement request for qualifications on BC Bid.

“There is a real sense of momentum as we take these significant steps forward in the various approval processes required for the proposed John Hart project,” said Chris O’Riley, BC Hydro’s executive VP of generation.”

The catch though is whether the utilities commission will approve the enormous capital required to finance BC Hydro’s largest project.

Hydro is expected to make its application to the commission in May, and the approval process could take up to a year.

The John Hart Generating Station has provided clean, reliable power for more than 65 years, but an upgrade is badly needed.

The plan is to replace the penstocks running from John Hart Lake to the generating station with a two-kilometre tunnel through bedrock, and to build a new generating station with more efficient turbines.

The upgrades would also vastly improve the seismic stability of the power generating system.

The project would create about 400 jobs a year over the five years of construction. First Nations, the community and the surrounding region will have an opportunity to be directly involved and benefit economically from the project construction.

The next project steps include filing a federal Environmental Assessment Report with Fisheries and Oceans Canada later this month and filing a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity Application with the British Columbia Utilities Commission later this spring.

To view the John Hart project video that illustrates the construction that will be taking place at the facility over the coming years and for more information on the project, visit

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