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BC Hydro, SD72 team up on dam replacement project

School District 72 and BC Hydro are working together to provide unique educational opportunities for teachers and students during the five-year construction period of the John Hart Generating Station Replacement Project.

The partnership will allow BC Hydro to provide up to $5,000 per year to SD72 to have teachers and kids bus to the site, walk the various public trails and see the project evolve.

“BC Hydro has been talking to various SD72 staff about the John Hart project for almost two years to find the means or ways to engage students in this once in a lifetime capital project opportunity, right in their backyard,” says BC Hydro spokesperson, Stephen Watson. “A working group evolved and this fall it came together on the education opportunities. To be involved with this group and see the potential outcomes for SD72 is exciting, and I’m really looking forward to the feedback on how it works out.”

BC Hydro provides funding to school districts for Energy Managers, and these in-house managers undertake Power Smart initiatives to educate staff and obtain funding in the goal of reducing operating electricity costs. The John Hart project was seen as a good opportunity.

“SD72 is very appreciative BC Hydro proactively came to the table to offer interactive learning and allow students to think and develop their own opinions about the John Hart project,” says SD72 Superintendent, Tom Longridge. “I am also proud of the SD72 staff that took the time to develop these educational plans with BC Hydro.

“We have five years to develop the plan and so far we’re off to a good start.”

This school year some of the schools involved, with grades ranging from kindergarten to high school, will explore the importance of the Campbell River watershed from an economic, cultural, ecological and recreational perspective, and investigate how hydroelectric power generation and use shapes a community.

“This initiative is about students going to the site and seeing how it will change over the next five years,” says SD72 Instructional Support Teacher, Drew Williams. “What’s going to happen to plants and trees, wildlife and fish? What element of the project will they want to explore? When they flick on that switch at home they will better appreciate where the power comes from, and the understanding that there are impacts with power generating facilities. This is also a wonderful opportunity for students to see and learn about some interesting jobs and think about a career after high school.”

“SD72 would like to see more kids stay and work in Campbell River, and this BC Hydro John Hart partnership opportunity is another tool to get kids engaged locally,” adds Longridge.

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