The British Columbia Utilities Commission has approved a US$940M project to replace the John Hart generating station near the Campbell River.


The commission’s approval comes after five years of project planning by BC Hydro, feedback from the Campbell River community, and a regulatory review process that lasted close to one year. The commission determined the project was the most cost-effective option to address the significant reliability, seismic, environmental and fisheries issues associated with the 66-year-old facility.

The John Hart Generating Station Replacement project involves constructing a new water intake at the John Hart Spillway Dam by replacing the three 1.8km long pipelines with a 2.1km long tunnel; constructing a replacement generating station beside the existing station and building a new water bypass facility.

There are three main reasons for the project: the generating station and pipelines may not withstand a low to moderate earthquake; the six generating units are in poor condition and their capacity is declining; and an unplanned generating station shutdown and river flow reduction would harm fish habitat.

In the next step for the project, BC Hydro now has to obtain legislative approval of a parks boundary adjustment and choose a preferred proponent to design and build the project.