Final choice coming soon on $200M second hydro line to West Kelowna | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Final choice coming soon on $200M second hydro line to West Kelowna

Image Credit: B.C. Hydro
December 09, 2020 - 2:15 PM

It has already taken 13 years but the route for a second B.C. Hydro line to West Kelowna is scheduled to be announced by mid-2021. But there’s no clear indication of when the line might be built.

“I’m a lot grayer today that I was when we started this conversation a number of years back,” Coun. Rick de Jong said during a video update by B.C. Hydro at council’s meeting Tuesday, Dec. 8. “I’m getting excited that this is moving forward.”

West Kelowna has lobbied for a second power source ever since it was incorporated in 2007 as the current line is at risk of destruction by forest fires.

Last year, B.C. Hydro said it was looking at just beefing up the existing line coming in from Merritt. That elicited harsh reactions from councillors. Now it’s off the table.

READ MORE: West Kelowna fights B.C. Hydro’s plan to delay second power line

There are two options being considered. One is a separate power line from Merritt. The other would see a cable running along the bottom of Okanagan Lake from Kelowna. It won’t be on the Bennett Bridge.

The original price tag was in the $50 to $100 million range, but now B.C. Hydro is saying either option will cost more than $200 million.

Once the final route is decided, detailed design will need to be done and an application made to the B.C. Utilities Commission, which could take a year to make a decision, council was told.

The good news is that the project is in B.C. Hydro’s capital plan for projects to be built, or at least started, within the next 10 years. There is no priority ranking for those projects, council was told.

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