BC Hydro will not continue with a second transmission line project for West Kelowa, despite an announcement made in 2015 from former B.C. Premier Christy Clark that the project would proceed Image: Capital News file

Second transmission line cancelled for West Kelowna

BC Hydro now planning to just make upgrades to existing power line

A proposal to build a second transmission line from Merritt to West Kelowna has been cancelled, according to BC Hydro officials.

A spokesperson for the provincial agency broke the news during a West Kelowna council meeting on Tuesday night, much to the dismay and frustration of city councillors.

“We have one line and we have safety issues,” said Councilor Jason Friesen. “I don’t want to hear that you have our best interests on this project, because you don’t.”

“We have patients that are on oxygen tanks that last for two hours. We have elderly people that are lying in beds that can’t afford to get cold or that can’t afford to get pneumonia or they’ll die. We have to have 100 per cent on this project.”

Instead of twinning the 80-kilometre transmission line between the two communities, Rachelle Trent, a stakeholder relations manager for BC Hydro, told council hydro officials recently completed a new feasibility study to look at ways to upgrade the current power line to help make it more resilient to natural disasters.

READ MORE: Westside to finally get second electricity transmission line

As part of the improvements, Trent said culverts would be built around existing transmission poles in grasslands along the line to help prevent them from catching on fire if there’s a forest fire. She said Bc Hydro officials would also improve access roads around the line and improve the line’s drainage from ice and wind.

After the announcement, councillor Doug Findlater said improving access roads would’t fix the problem in the event of an emergency.

“Many of our equipment failures have been due to wildfire. These incidents have been very local and high in the mountains.”

“During these instances, BC Hydro officials have driven on little access roads in the middle of the night trying to find these failures. They couldn’t find them.”

West Kelowna city councillor Stephen Johnston said he was also frsutrated by the delays to the project.

“This project has been a conversation with the Central Okanagan Regional District since 2007,” said Johnston.

“To get through this whole process since 2015, and then throw it all back on the table and say ‘Yeah, we’re actually going to look at this whole resiliency thing’ four years after the project was initiated, one can’t help but think we’re just being monkeyed around.”

Trent said BC Hydro will now begin discussions with Fortis BC to get the final cost estimates needed to proceed with the transmission line enhancements.


@connortrembley
connor.trembley@kelownacapnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Boomer Talk: Vernon homeless outreach team and COVID-19

Columnist Carole Fawcett catches up with two generous women going above and beyond to support the community

Morning Start: Dogs can smell cancer

Your morning start for Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Shoppers Drug Mart launches in-store virtual service at several B.C. stores

The service is now available in 12 rural B.C. communities and will expand province-wide in August

Central Okanagan Foundation invests over $230,000 in local charities

The funds came from the organization’s spring 2020 grants

Vernon man arrested after reports of assaults on Kal Lake Rotary Pier

RCMP officers successful in taking man into custody after takedown on railway trestle

B.C. records 31 new cases, six deaths over three days due to COVID-19

There are 166 active cases in B.C., 16 people in hospital

Canadians with disabilities disproportionately hit by COVID-19 pandemic

More than four out of 10 British Columbians aged 70 and up have various disabilities

Camping offers a great pandemic escape, for less money than you might think

But for many first-timers, knowing what to bring can be a challenge

Turbulence in Canadian opinion on airlines COVID-19 response: poll

Thousands of people have beseeched Transport Minister Marc Garneau to compel airlines to issue refunds,

Lower Mainland woman says llama farming neighbour shot her 11-month-old pup

Young dog was on owner’s Maple Ridge property when it was killed on June 21

Police issue warning after baby comes across suspected drugs in Kamloops park

The 11-month-old girl’s mother posted photos on social media showing a small plastic bag containing a purple substance

B.C. highway widening job reduced, costs still up $61 million

Union-only project scales back work to widen Trans-Canada

Most Read