West Kelowna council has received much anticipated information on BC Hydro’s plans for additional transmission lines that will deliver power to more than 22,000 BC Hydro customers.
West Kelowna Mayor Gord Milsom, along side almost all city councillors, expressed their frustration with the changes, and also the estimated time-frame of completion at a Committee of the Whole city council meeting Tuesday.
BC Hydro delivered the plans that have changed from an approval of a new secondary transmission line into, what is now, plans for resiliency alternatives to the existing power station.
BC Hydro project manager Sue Foster told council that because the West Kelowna Transmission Project is such a large project, more reviews are needed and a confirmation for the preferred alternative expected in early 2020 at the earliest.
The BC Hydro plans changed after estimated costs from Fall 2018 were higher than originally expected. Changes to the costs included a longer line distance of 28 kilometres, increased numbers and types of power-line poles and the amount of time to complete the construction of the line.
BC Hydro said they must fully consider, consult and assess all feasible alternatives including a new alternative focused on improving the resiliency of the existing transmission line to minimize the risk of outages resulting from forest fires and geotechnical events.
Resiliency alternatives that will be studied by BC Hydro to improve the existing line are enhanced access for maintenance, vegetation removal, fire retardant to wood poles, replacing wood with steel or fibreglass in high-risk areas, improved response plans and more.
In the past 20 years, the existing line has had four unplanned outages with 16 hours of total outage hours to the area that the line services.
BC Hydro expects a decision time will extend to early 2020.
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