West Kelowna Mayor Gord Milsom is attending the 2019 Union on BC Municipalities in Vancouver this week to talk energy security.
In a statement, Milsom stated that he’s met with senior BC Hydro officials to discuss the need for a second power transmission line to help distribute backup power in West Kelowna, Westbank First Nation and Peachland communities during emergencies.
According to Milsom, local residents were promised the second transmission line by BC Hydro back in 2015. However, BC Hydro advised West Kelowna four years later in 2019 that there would be additional delays to the project due to resiliency and redundancy tests that had to be done on the proposed lines.
Milsom highlights that safety is the number one reason for the project to finally go ahead.
“BC Hydro assured us (Tuesday) that they are very aware of how important power redundancy is to the 50,000 people on the westside of Okanagan Lake who rely on this single power line.”
Milsom emphasizes that even one small natural disaster can cut off power to local residents with the current state of the energy infrastructure in the communities.
“We have seen time and time again that emergencies can arise, and that increased forest fires and flooding threaten our infrastructure. It is vital for West Kelowna to have a redundant power source to ensure the safety our our community and the greater Westside.”
B.C. Hydro has since clarified that it intends to bring proposed line options to the B.C. Utilities in early 2020, which includes power recommendations for the new infrastructure.
Later on Wednesday, West Kelowna delegates are also meeting with Minister of Health Adrian Dix to discuss the importance of a future urgent and primary care centre in their community.