The two new outlet valves were tested last week and will provide BC Hydro with increased downstream water flow management, such as the annual fish habitat flows down Elk Falls Canyon. They are shown flowing at full capacity or a combined 44 cubic metres per second.

Water flows through the John Hart tunnels

BC Hydro generating station project near Campbell River enters new milestone

Water is now flowing through the underground tunnels at the new John Hart hydroelectric facility.

And there are a lot of satisfied smiles around the project site.

“This is a big achievement for the project team and work crews, and ultimately, this is five years in the making when BC Hydro staff and InPower BC staff worked out the Project Agreement in developing this amazing project,” BC Hydro’s Stephen Watson said in a press release. “Our contractor managed through the underground rock removal process, then the underwater rock blasting while also successfully protecting water quality within the John Hart reservoir, and now they’ve successfully moved through the watering up process within the 2.2 km of tunnels.

“We could not be happier. It’s a massive project for BC Hydro, and for the Campbell River community and Vancouver Island. The project continues to track on time and on budget.”

See video of the tunnels: VIDEO: John Hart Dam replacement project edging closer to completion

Watson said some initial cloudiness in the water coming out of the tunnel was expected with it fully passing through all of the tunnel sections for the first time, and that the water quality was monitored and stayed well within water quality compliance for downstream fish habitat.

“The water is now flowing through tunnels but also the new water release valves on the downstream side of the John Hart dam,” said Watson. “One of the valves is designed to provide the year-round flows for fish habitat down Elk Falls Canyon. This is the first commissioning of the project works with the valves and the new water bypass facility, located within the underground powerhouse, being turned over to BC Hydro for downstream water management.”

“We have a great team with SNC-Lavalin, Aecon, General Electric and over 100 local suppliers, services, and subcontractors,” said InPower BC CEO, Paul Sawyer. “We are pleased with how things have come together. There is lots of work ahead as we look to have the first turbine/generator producing power for BC Hydro in early summer. We’ll maintain our steady focus through the facility commissioning in the fall – however, it’s nice to take a moment and think about how far we’ve come.”

“I would like to congratulate everyone who’s been involved on the John Hart project since the beginning in reaching this major project milestone,” said Minister of Transportation and North Island MLA Claire Trevena. “I’ve closely followed this project for years and have been constantly amazed at the rate of change during the construction phase – the overall scope of the project is immense.”

“This project has been a huge focus for our community and we are very pleased how successfully it has moved along while also considering the community interests,” said City of Campbell River Mayor Andy Adams. “From the walking trails, helping to make the Elk Falls Suspension Bridge a reality, to working collaboratively with the City on our new domestic water intake system. We’re getting close to the finish line for this project, though there are more large projects planned by BC Hydro to keep the wider Campbell River system safe and reliable.”

Watson said the annual John Hart project community site event, the fourth and likely final event, will be held on Sept. 16 to provide people with the opportunity to go underground and see the powerhouse before it is fully commissioned in October.

New for this year is people must acquire one of a limited number of tickets in order to go on the tour. BC Hydro and InPower BC expect a lot of interest and this was seen as the best way to logistically have a successful event.

“The details of the community site event will be provided in early June, including where you can get the approximate 1,200 tickets around the end of June,” said Watson, chuckling.

Just Posted

John Hart Dam near Campbell River, B.C. BC Hydro photo
Campbell River watershed forecasts improve with rainfall

BC Hydro projects slightly higher resevoir levels and river flows after rainy May and June

North Island MLA Michele Babchuk. Photo contributed
COMMENTARY: MLA Michele Babchuk talks the future of forestry

‘These forests are important to every single one of us, myself included’

Heather Gordon Murphy (l-r) and Jan Wade, chair and executive director, respectively, of the Downtown Campbell River Business Improvement Association, are working to make the city’s core a safer and more welcoming place.
Downtown Campbell River BIA working to change perceptions

Downtown Campbell River BIA is establishing nighttime security patrols and targeting beautification

Carl Sweet (left) speaks with Rod Burns before the march from Logger Mike to MLA Michele Babchuk’s office in Campbell River. The men were from two different sides of the issue of old growth logging in B.C. Photo by Marc Kitteringham / Campbell River Mirror
VIDEO: Old growth forest counter-rallies converge on the streets of Campbell River

Pro-forestry and preserve old growth supporters argue and debate in front of MLA’s office

A strong showing from people who support the forest industry co-opted a protest against logging old growth trees on Vancouver Island that was planned for downtown Campbell River June 10. Photo by Marc Kitteringham/Campbell River Mirror
Pro-forestry supporters move in on anti-old-growth logging rally

Debates and signs dominate the scene in downtown Campbell River

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

“They will never be forgotten, every child matters,” says Sioux Valley Chief Jennifer Bone in a video statement June 1. (Screen grab)
104 ‘potential graves’ detected at site of former residential school in Manitoba

Sioux Valley Dakota Nation working to identify, repatriate students buried near former Brandon residential school

The Queen Victoria statue at the B.C. legislature was splattered with what looks like red paint on Friday. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)
Queen Victoria statue at B.C. legislature vandalized Friday

Statue splattered with red paint by old growth forest proponents

Police cars are seen parked outside Vancouver Police Department headquarters on Saturday, January 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Vancouver police officer charged with assault during an arrest in 2019

The service has released no other details about the allegations

Denmark’s Christian Eriksen receives medical attention after collapsing during the Euro 2020 soccer championship group B match between Denmark and Finland at Parken stadium in Copenhagen, Saturday, June 12, 2021. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner, Pool)
Christian Eriksen in stable condition, Euro 2020 match resumes

Eriksen was given chest compressions after collapsing on the field during a European Championship

Members of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ Marine Mammal Response Program rescued an adult humpback what that was entangled in commercial fishing gear in the waters off of Entrance Island on Thursday, June 10. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Response Program)
Rescuers free humpback ‘anchored’ down by prawn traps off Vancouver Island

Department of Fisheries and Oceans responders spend hours untangling whale

As stories of the horrors of residential schools circulate after the Tk’emlups te Secwepemc First Nation announced it had located what are believed to be the remains of 215 children, Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs said he feels a connection with the former students. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
2 sides of the same coin: Ex-foster kids identify with residential school survivors

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip says the child welfare system takes Indigenous children from their families

Nathan Watts, a member of the Tseshaht First Nation near Port Alberni, shares his story of substance use, a perspective he said isn’t seen enough. (Photo courtesy of Nathan Watts)
Public shaming, hate perpetuates further substance use: UVic researcher

Longtime addict Nathan Watts offers a user’s perspective on substance use

Most Read