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

Just Posted

Evacuation alert for homes near Dry Lake fire rescinded

Fire status changed to Under Control, crews remain on site patrolling and extinguishing hot spots

Morning Start: The human body contains trace amounts of gold

Your morning start for Friday, August 7, 2020

COLUMN: Listen to those who know about COVID-19

Accurate information is essential when understanding the pandemic

Penticton man wakes to wildfire, forced to evacuate from home

A wildfire sparked off the side of Highway 97 near Penticton on Thursday

Roots & Blues announces ticket giveaway ahead of online festival

The festival is streaming free online this year, but those who pre-register can win passes for 2021.

VIDEO: U.S. Air Force pilot does fly-by for B.C. son amid COVID border separation

Sky-high father-son visit plays out over White Rock Pier

Fundraiser launched for West Kelowna family who lost their home to fire

The family’s Sunview Drive home was destroyed after an accidental fire on Aug. 6

B.C. wildfire crews have battled 111 blazes in the last seven days

Twenty-nine fires remain active, as of Friday (Aug 7)

B.C. health minister applauds Kelowna Mayor, council for COVID-19 outbreak response

‘I think they are a model of how we respond’ - said Health Minister Adrian Dix

T-Rex earns big bids at B.C. dino auction

Over 500 dino-themed lots sold to buyers from across North America

‘We don’t make the rules’: Okanagan pub owner says staff harassed over pandemic precautions

‘If you have six people plus a baby, guess what? That’s seven’ - West Kelowna Kelly O’Bryan’s owner

Remembering Brent Carver: A legend of Broadway who kept his B.C. roots strong

Over the years, the Cranbrook thespian earned his place as one of Canada’s greatest actors

Vernon social justice group rallies to raise awareness for human trafficking victims

Indigenous women make up 4 per cent of Canadian population, 50 per cent of trafficking victims

Statistics Canada says country gained 419,000 jobs in July

National unemployment rate was 10.9 per cent in July, down from the 12.3 per cent recorded in June

Most Read