It was good news Tuesday for BC Hydro.
It started with official approval from the government to slightly alter the boundary at Elk Falls Provincial Park. This will allow construction to begin on the nearly $1 billion project to rebuild the John Hart Generating Station.
The second good news was $301,627 in funding for eight projects taking place in the Campbell River watershed this year and next.
BC Hydro distributes the money through the Fish and Wildlife Compensation Program. Projects include evaluating improvements to fish access at the Salmon River Big Tree Side-Channel and investigating early marine biology of juvenile and wild salmon around the Campbell River estuary.
Moving the park boundary required approval from the B.C. Legislature and final approval was given last week.
“This is great news for the John Hart project and allows BC Hydro to proceed with all the early site preparation works this spring and summer in order to prepare for the major construction work beginning later this year,” said spokesman Stephen Watson. “BC Hydro will be obtaining Park Use Permits to work within small areas of the park. BC Hydro has committed to provide a net benefit to Elk Falls upon project completion.”
Construction of the Station View Trail will begin as early as next week. This work will allow trail users to maintain the Canyon View Trail loop through BC Hydro property during the five-year construction period.
The Station View Trail, designed to go around the construction area, will be in place this summer.
Once the John Hart project is complete, park land not required for the ongoing operation will be returned to park status.
BC Hydro has committed to provide a net benefit to BC Parks upon project completion.
These mitigation and compensation benefits include: New paved access road and paved parking lot for public access to Elk Falls plus a crushed gravel trail connection to the Millennium Trail; Decommissioning of BC Parks’ existing two parking lots within Elk Falls Park; Transfer of BC Hydro lands at three potential locations for an approximate 3.4-hectare area at end of project.