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John Hart Dam seismic upgrades could cost up to $822M

More upgrades are bound for Campbell River’s John Hart Dam, in a new nine-figure project expected to take six years to complete.

BC Hydro has announced its plans to start seismic enhancements at the facility, with construction to begin in 2023 and wrap up by 2029.

This past Friday, Dec. 17, the milestone was celebrated out front of the dam, with BC Hydro President and CEO Chris O’Riley and North Island MLA Michele Babchuk in attendance.

“The John Hart Dam is a key component of BC Hydro’s infrastructure on Vancouver Island,” said O’Riley. “The upgrades are required to strengthen the dam so that it can continue to operate safely and reliably.”

Meanwhile, Babchuk finds the proposed upgrades will bring more good jobs to local families. “Keeping people safe is an important part of everything we do,” she said.

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According to BC Hydro, Vancouver Island is within the most seismically-active zone in the province.

The project will see new upstream and downstream berms, spillway gate and hoist replacement, a new overflow spillway, and an additional water seepage barrier in the middle earth-fill dam.

It comes with a price tag of $497 million to $822 million, to be refined as things progress, and BC Hydro says the first stage in a procurement process has been initiated with a request for proposals for the civil contract.

Since 2014, the company has been working with the City of Campbell River and the Strathcona Regional District, informing the downstream community of the potential interim risk from a severe earthquake.

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It’s also in consultations with the We Wai Kai, Wei Wai Kum and K’omoks First Nations.

This latest upgrade project follows the last significant upgrade to the John Hart system – the completion of the John Hart Generating Station Replacement Project. It took five years to finish and involved building a new generating station.

Find more details here.

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