Campbellton school to be revived

John Hart construction workers will transform the former Campbellton school site in Campbell River into project offices

John Hart construction workers will transform the former Campbellton school site into project offices after city council gave its approval last week.

At the Sept. 16 council meeting, councillors granted contractor Aecon SNC-Lavalin joint venture a development permit to add trailers to the property and spruce up the old school building.

Scott Marshall, project manager for the John Hart Generating Station replacement project, told council that crews need a place to store specialized equipment that will be brought in prior to construction.

“We’ve looked at several sites and the best one we’ve come up with and the one we want to use is the Campbellton school site,” Marshall said.

“We would use the school field for parking and use the two existing buildings as a warehouse area and storage area.”

Marshall said multiple trailers would be set up around the buildings to create an office complex.

Those trailers would serve as meeting rooms, project offices and washrooms.

Marshall said he sees the initiative as a way to improve the area.

“We will renovate the two existing buildings and turn them into shops and warehouses,” Marshall said.

“The school yard itself, I think we’re going to enhance the Campbellton area. I met with the Campbellton Neighbourhood Association last week and I think they’re in support of what we’re doing.”

Marshall said having the contractors based at the school site will also reduce the amount of traffic using Highway 28 because workers will park at the site and then be bused to and from the John Hart construction site.

Kathleen Wilker, the city’s planner, wrote in a report to council that the school is expected to serve as office space for the workers for at least five years.

She said because the school property is in such close proximity to the Haig-Brown/Kingfisher Creek an environmental assessment and report has been done on the site to assess potential impacts on the waterway.

Wilker said the report recommends features to protect the stream channel and wetlands.

“As the location of the trailer complex is outside the (protected environmental area) the environmental professional concludes that (the) most effective mitigation measures will be to replant the area with vegetation found in a riparian ecosystem,” Wilker said.

Marshall told council he’s aware Aecon SNC-Lavalin needs to abide by a buffer and setback distance from the creek.

“Anything that’s hazardous will be stored in the school site,” Marshall said.

Marshall also provided council with a brief John Hart upgrade project update, reporting that a major bridge crossing was recently completed over the three existing penstocks, which will accommodate construction crews.

The billion-dollar project – which will see a new generating station built underground and the penstocks which carry the city’s drinking water replaced with a single underground tunnel – is in the preliminary stages.

Blasting is underway and is expected to continue until November to make way for the underground infrastructure.