Free band shell needs expensive hook-up

FortisBC to bill almost $30,000 to run power to Oliver's new outdoor stage, which was built as gift to the community.

RDOS logo

RDOS logo

Oliver residents got a new band shell for free, but getting power to it is going to cost almost $30,000.

The Kiwanis Club of Oliver in July cut the ribbon on the new outdoor stage in the town’s Community Park. The band shell’s $75,000 cost was covered entirely by the club. Powering it up, however, has been a problem.

FortisBC wants $28,261 to provide electricity to the structure, according to a report received by the board of the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen.

Dave Mattes, an Oliver town councillor and alternate RDOS director, was at a loss to explain the cost to colleagues on Thursday, and said FortisBC “politely declined” a request to write off the work as a donation.

FortisBC spokesperson Marnie Douglas said via email that the cost includes installation of a new power pole with three transformers, plus wire to connect it to an existing pole about 30 metres away and also to the band shell.

She added that as a regulated utility, FortisBC must charge everyone the same rate for service and installation, although the company has a variety of programs through which it makes financial contributions to the community.

RDOS directors voted to withdraw the full $28,261 from its parks reserve account for the area, which stood at $286,185 at the end of last year.