Blasting to begin near Campbell River’s John Hart generating station

Measures are put in place to prevent fly-rock and trail closures are not anticipated

A new stage of BC Hydro’s John Hart Generating Station Replacement Project is beginning behind the existing powerhouse on the Campbell River.

Blasting is set to begin on a new outlet where water from the new underground powerhouse will be released from the tunnel into the Campbell River. Trees have already been cleared on the slope and the next phase will begin the week of Sept. 21 with surface blasting on the slope to the north of the hydroelectric penstocks, between the powerhouse and Station View Trail.

“This is another interesting component of this innovative project and unlike other John Hart construction site locations, this area is closest to the river and trail system,” says BC Hydro’s Stephen Watson. “People will be able to see the work from the wooden bridge on the Station View Trail so we wanted to make sure the community understands what’s going on there. Site construction is expanding to all the key areas and we are excited to see things unfold.”

The project contractor will excavate a pie-slice shape into the slope, with the deepest point reaching 32 metres. The main blasting work is expected to last through December. Until the new works are complete and ready for commissioning, an area of rock will be left along the river edge to keep the tunnel opening dry.

The surface blasting will occur four or five times a week, and only during daylight hours. Measures are put in place to prevent fly-rock from the surface blasts and as a result of safety precautions, trail closures are not anticipated. Project staff will ask people to keep moving along the trail just prior to the blasts, as they don’t want people to linger on the pedestrian bridge waiting for a blast to happen.

Watson said the surface blasts are highly controlled and covered with blast matting, so should provide limited noise to the surrounding area.

People in vehicles who enter Powerhouse Road off Highway 28 to access the public parking lot and trail by the river may also see an increase in construction traffic as trucks move material off-site. BC Hydro and InPower BC ask that drivers be mindful of the posted speed limits, the large vehicles on the two-lane road, and of trail users crossing the road.

“Safety is of critical importance to everyone working on this project, and we appreciate the community’s patience and understanding so that we can ensure each step of this project is completed safely,” said Paul Sawyer, CEO for InPower BC.

Extensive environmental planning, approvals and monitoring are required for any work near the river, and the project team has prepared extensively to ensure all standards are met or exceeded.

Any questions about the upcoming blasting work can be directed to Stephen Watson at 250-755-4795 or steve.watson@bchydro.com. For the latest updates on the John Hart project, including monthly construction reports, visit: https://www.bchydro.com/energy-in-bc/projects/john_hart_generating.html.