B.C. Premier gets an earful about planned West Kelowna power outages

Shannon Lake resident Graham Stevens shares his frustration over planned B.C. Hydro power outages this weekend and next week in his neighbourhood with B.C. Premier Christy Clark Wednesday. - Wade Paterson/Capital News
Shannon Lake resident Graham Stevens shares his frustration over planned B.C. Hydro power outages this weekend and next week in his neighbourhood with B.C. Premier Christy Clark Wednesday.
— image credit: Wade Paterson/Capital News

Complaints about two planned lengthy B.C. Hydro power outages, scheduled for this Sunday and next Tuesday in the Shannon Lake area of West Kelowna, were taken directly to B.C.'s premier Wednesday.

During a stop at Volcanic Hills Estate Winery, Clark, who is also the MLA for Westside-Kelowna, was confronted by an angry Shannon Lake-area resident, Graham Stevens, one of approximately 2,000 residents who will be directly affected by the outages.

"I've lived there 20 years. We've seen shutdowns by B.C. Hydro before. The longest I remember was perhaps two or three hours in the summer when they were doing work on a substation at Shannon Way and Shannon Lake Road," Stevens said following a conversation with the premier

"This project with sidewalks has been dragging around since early November. (District of West Kelowna crews) work a day, then they're off for a week. They come back for two days…Somebody should've got their act together and (finished) it before we got this kind of (cold) weather."

Earlier in the day, when asked about the planned outages on a local radio talk show, Clark said B.C. Hydro needs to replace cables in the area and is doing it now because the district is putting in sidewalks and money can be saved by doing both projects together.

She said she has been told the cables need to be replaced to avoid the possible future losses of power to houses in the area.

"It's just like fixing your roof on your house," Clark said. "If you wait until it is leaking, it will cost you a lot more."

B.C. Hydro plans to shut off electricity in the Shannon Lake area from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday and then again from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Tuesday.

Sunday's outage will affect homes on Hihannah View, Upper Sundance Drive, Sandstone Crescent, Sandstone Drive, Sunset Place, Shannon Way, Westville Place, Sundance Drive, Sundance Court, Sagebrush Court, Ridgerock Place, Ridgerock Way, Shannon Place, Shannon Court and Woodstock Drive. Tuesday's outage will affect homes on Shannon Way.

"One of the (local) politicians said he wasn't even told about it," fumed Stevens. "Someone else said to me we should be organizing warming centres. There are people with medical equipment."

And he warned Hydro officials that if they think it will cost them money to change their plans now, if residents' electrical equipment, such as computers and televisions, are damaged as a result of the outages, they could face damage claims and even legal action.

Despite resident concerns, the outages are expected to go ahead.

A call to B.C. Hydro was not immediately returned Wednesday.

(with files from Wade Paterson)



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