The city will vary its blasting bylaw to allow construction 24 hours a day, seven days a week as part of the John Hart Generating Station upgrade project.
Aecon SNC-Lavalin – under contract by BC Hydro – needs to blast day and night in order to complete a new tunnel to the new underground generating station.
Project manager Scott Marshall said the blasts will not affect residents who live in the vicinity.
“As the majority of work is underground and also over two kilometres from the nearest dwelling, noise from our blasting operation will not be a problem,” Marshall said.
“BC Hydro has placed very stringent vibration criteria on adjacent structures closer to the blast area than the existing city of Campbell River infrastructure. Seismographs will be set up for each blast to measure and ensure the vibration levels will not be exceeded.”
City clerk Peter Wipper said staff do not have a problem with amending the blasting bylaw to accommodate round the clock blasting because, other than the entrance and exit to the tunnel, all blasting will occur underground and shouldn’t be heard.
The city will also alter its construction noise regulations, which permit construction noise from 7 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday to Saturday and from 8 a.m.-10 p.m. on Sundays and statutory holidays.
Excavated material from the underground tunnel will need to be loaded and removed from the site 24/7, so Marshall has requested the variance from council at Tuesday’s council meeting.
“Rock will be hauled both dayshift and nightshift,” Marshall said. “It is anticipated that there will be between six to eight trucks per hour on both shifts that will leave the general site.”
The trucks will leave from the city’s water treatment facility off Hwy. 28 and will use Hwy. 19 and Hwy. 28 to access two material drop-off sites, one north at Middle Point and the other – a gravel pit off of Willis Road.
Wipper said heavy equipment and dump trucks being loaded will generate noise but the impact will be limited.
“This noise will continue 24/7 and although this noise will impact the city’s water treatment facility there will be no impact on residential areas,” Wipper said. “There are residential properties situated along Highway 28, staff conducted an assessment of existing night-time traffic along that road. Representatives of (the) mine at Myra Falls reported that their operation generates approximately 40 vehicle trips between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m. Staff do not believe that the dump trucks hauling will generate higher levels of noise so long as the drivers do not use engine brakes.”
Blasting and hauling is expected to take place between July 15 and Oct. 1.
City council was expected to give approval to the blasting and construction noise variances at its Tuesday meeting, after the Mirror went to press.
General construction of the John Hart project began this week and is expected to last until summer 2019.
The billion dollar project involves excavating underground tunnels, construction of a new powerhouse, turbine and generator installation in the new powerhouse as well as mechanical and electrical work.
So far, the project has resulted in the creation of the Station View Trail and a new parking lot and access for Elk Falls with an interpretive centre.