Chief Chris Roberts, left, and Chief Brian Assu, standing within a safe zone, pull the lever to signal the permanent shutdown of Generator 4 within the old John Hart generating station. BC Hydro photo

Fourth generator shut down at Campbell River generating station

Brings project one step closer to replacing aging station with new underground facility

Another old John Hart generator was shut down on Monday and the occasion was used to celebrate the relationship between BC Hydro and local First Nations.

BC Hydro shut down a fourth generator as it continues to transition from its old facility on the Campbell River to the new underground facility. This time First Nations had the opportunity to pull the switch.

“We appreciated the request for us to shut down one of the six old generators,” said We Wai Kai Chief, Brian Assu. “A rare opportunity. It’s an example of the close relationship we’ve developed over time, since 2007, with BC Hydro. It is an ongoing relationship process, and Monday’s event was very meaningful to us.”

“To be able to pull the lever to signal the process to permanently shut down the old generator was something I will always remember,” said Wei Wai Kum Chief, Chris Roberts. “Our people were not consulted when the first facility was built in the 1940s. For the new and improved underground John Hart facility, we were engaged and a renewed relationship has begun. Today is a symbolic day in moving forward from the old way to the appropriate new way – the proper way forward where we have our concerns addressed and we also benefit.”

The remaining two generators will be permanently shut down in mid-October. After that, all water flows will be passed through the new tunnel and underground powerhouse. BC Hydro also provides a minimum water flow for fish habitat down Elk Falls Canyon.

“It was important for us to reach out to the community to be a part of these milestone shutdown events,” says BC Hydro’s Stephen Watson. “It’s a big deal to see and be a part of, as this facility has been a big part of Campbell River for about 71 years.”

Previously Georgean Price, wife of the first plant manager at John Hart, Art Price, shut down the first unit in October 2017. This year, Campbell River Mayor and Council and then members of BC Hydro’s community liaison committee each shut down a generator.