OUR VIEW: Underground utilities the way to go

We say: The city could stand to lose its ‘forest’ of power poles

There’s really not much you can do about the trees that took out power lines all over Campbell River during Monday’s powerful windstorm. Except maybe cut down all the trees in town. But, of course, nobody wants that. Campbell Riverites have shown they love their trees, expressed in sorrow over the loss of an eagle nesting tree or whenever someone cuts one down to improve their view sparking a neighbourhood crisis.

Plus there’s so many trees in the city, except for in newer subdivisions where the tendency is to clear cut the property before building houses.

Trees are a fact of life in Campbell River and people, on the whole, like it that way.

So, to prevent some of the power outages caused by windstorms, we may have to look to the power lines for a solution, i.e., remove them, not the trees. Of course, we’re not talking about getting rid of electricity or forcing everyone to be self-sufficient solar power producers – although the latter would be good for the environment. No, we need to look at a way to speed up the replacement of those old-school power lines with underground services. Ironically, new subdivisions can afford to retain trees because all services are put underground. But it’s an expensive proposition to replace power poles and lines. BC Hydro at one time had a program to replace them. Now you have to wonder if the cost to reconnect power to sections of the region that have lost it can help offset the cost of putting power lines underground.

Perhaps a senior level of government could help out or maybe even BC Hydro could do it in return for increased power rates?