Campbell River Courier-Islander
Wed Oct 2 2013
Even before they have named the main contractor for the John Hart Generating Station Replacement Project, BC Hydro has been generating a lot of economic activity in Campbell River.
And that has led to the direct creation of about 100 jobs, says BC Hydro spokesperson, Stephen Watson.
“I know how eager the community is, and so is BC Hydro, for the upcoming John Hart project construction,” says BC Hydro spokesperson, Stephen Watson. “What may not be well known is there’s quite a bit of work going on right now. We have the early site preparation works at John Hart, the temporary John Hart office space refurbishments going on at Campbell River Common, and the new field office building for our power line side of the business at Quinsam Crossing. Added up that’s about 100 construction jobs related to BC Hydro initiatives for contractors, many of whom are local.”
BC Hydro says the average of about 60 jobs at Quinsam Crossing will continue through early 2015, while the approximate 40 or so for the John Hart works will slow down into the fall as projects are completed.
BC Hydro plans to announce the preferred general contractor for the John Hart Generating Station Replacement Project Replacement later this fall and conclude with the award signing by the end of the year.
“We received the final technical and financial submissions from the competing teams in early September,” says Watson. “When we complete our detailed review BC Hydro will publicly announce the preferred contractor. We will then be working with the eventual contractor to quickly clarify their construction plan and the outlay of jobs over about five years. The average is about 400 per year but the project jobs will evolve from tunnelling work and generating station foundation excavation, to building the generating station and water bypass facility, to the commissioning process. These jobs, some of them very unique, will transform over time.
“Perhaps out of convenience most people simply call it the John Hart Dam project, but we really aren’t doing anything to the dam – it’s all downstream of it.”
BC Hydro says it has been working with the Chamber of Commerce and other business leaders to help prepare the community. He also says he gets a handful of calls per day from people looking for work, to offering accommodation.
“A key message is BC Hydro will not be doing the hiring or considering accommodation issues for the John Hart project; that will all be done by the contractor and their subcontractors,” said Watson. “We have been showcasing local and regional businesses to the bidding John Hart teams since last summer and plan to hold a business open house later this year or potentially in early 2014 – the timing will be up to the contractor.”
Watson says BC Hydro is one of the major sponsors for the upcoming Campbell River Chamber of Commerce Business Expo onOct. 22. He will be one of the participants on the construction and projects panel to talk about preparation and things like a skilled workforce. The Expo is designed as a business to business event.
“I can’t say enough about our relationship with the Chamber and the development of things like the Major Projects Web Portal, and through that, details and updates on the John Hart project and the new field office building that are easily accessible,” adds Watson.
“These projects first and foremost will allow BC Hydro to respond to emergency situations like major wind storm events and be able to run an ideal emergency operations centre, to having a generating station and water passage system from the dam that is reliable, seismically robust, and protects downstream fish habitat. BC Hydro and the Campbell River community will be well positioned.”