Mayor says BC Hydro giving West Kelowna the run-around

Mayor says BC Hydro giving West Kelowna the run-around
West Kelowna mayor Gord Milsom is in a fighting mood after getting the latest update from BC Hydro on construction of a second power line to feed power to the community.

The call for a second power line to the city has been talked about for 10 years and became a hot button topic when the 2014 Smith Creek wildfire threatened to cut off power to the city and surrounding communities.

Shortly after the fire, former Premier Christy Clark promised that a second line would be built.

“BC Hydro will build a new 138 kilovolt transmission line to continue to deliver clean, reliable power to West Kelowna, Westside and Peachland,” Clark said in 2015.

But Mayor Milsom says BC Hydro is nowhere near building a second line.

“Now we’re looking at another year delay. And the reason for that is they want to review whether or not the current line is satisfactory going forward. And we feel it isn’t. We need a second source of power,” Milsom said.

Mayor Milsom figures the delay is because of money. The original estimate was $100 million. Milsom says that estimate has since doubled.

“We asked them last night, how much will it be for the preferred option – that’s another line from the Nicola station to the Westbank station and we were told it could be north of $200 million,” he said.

BC Hydro says, yes, the estimate to build a second line has doubled but that still remains the preferred alternative. However, it says it wants to look at all the alternatives before committing.

“We’re looking at the cost of all the alternatives and that includes what we call a resiliency-alternative which is making the current line more resilient,” Dag Sharman, community relations contact for BC Hydro, said.

BC Hydro says it doesn’t have a ballpark figure on how much it would cost to make the current line more resilient and wants to hold more public information sessions before making a decision.
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