It’s a project that could cost more than $1.3 billion.
It would include building a two-kilometre tunnel through bedrock and replacing the old John Hart Generating Station with a new building and three new hydro-electric generators.
But those big-ticket items are incidental to what really concerns Campbell River citizens about the proposed BC Hydro project.
“Everyone asks about the (Canyon View) trail,” says Jim Kozak, a public use safety and recreation consultant for BC Hydro. “The trail is the number-one community issue. Over 60,000 people [75,000 in 2009] walk it every year.”
Users are concerned that construction would cut off the loop trail at the generating station. But after rounds of consultation with local government, BC Parks and user groups, BC Hydro will re-route the trail around the construction site and up and over the pipelines that deliver water to the generating station.
“The trail will be built to high standards,” says Kozak, who provided information at Wednesday’s BC Hydro open house at the Coast Discovery Inn. “There will be some steep sections, but we’re trying to avoid building stairs. And it will be beset amongst the trees; we won’t be taking out trees.”
The goal is to have little or no environmental impact. During the building stage, workers will also remove any invasive species and will add native trees and plants. As well, the bypass trail would include a nice lookout spot where users can monitor the construction progress.
When the construction project is finally completed – thought to be 2016 or 2017 – the plan is to re-open the closed portion of the trail in order to keep it as close to the river as possible.
The proposed project still needs to go through an environmental assessment and will require final approval.
Here are some of the other project details:
n BC Hydro committed to replace the Brewster Road bridge. The bridge upgrade could start in 2013.
n A new website is expected to be ready later this summer to provide contractors with detailed information about the project, in order for them to better formulate bids.
n Hydro wants public feedback on interpretive concepts for tourism and education opportunities.
n The two-kilometre tunnel would replace the current above-ground woodstave water pipelines. The tunnel would be eight metres in diameter. The rock removed for the tunnel could fill 110 Olympic-sized swimming pools, but would likely be sold to other companies for construction and road building.