Mica Dam connection creates interest

A powerline from near Mica Dam over the mountains to Vavenby is the most promising option to bring more electricity to the North Thompson

Local residents sit at a table during an economic development forum for the Barriere to McBride corridor held last Tuesday in Blue River. Pictured are (l-r) Clearwater Mayor John Harwood

Local residents sit at a table during an economic development forum for the Barriere to McBride corridor held last Tuesday in Blue River. Pictured are (l-r) Clearwater Mayor John Harwood

A Barriere to McBride economic corridor meeting in Blue River on Tuesday was a follow-up to a similar forum held last January in Valemount. One of the priorities identified during the initial forum was having higher capacity and more stable electricity for the North Thompson Valley, especially for large projects such as the proposed Harper Creek copper mine near Vavenby.

Alison Coyne, the land use initiatives manager from Victoria, reported that BC Hydro has been looking at three alternatives.

The first would be a new transmission line from 100 Mile House to Vavenby. The second would be a line from near Mica Dam over the mountains, while the third would be a second line parallel to the existing line from Kamloops.

Although the studies are still ongoing, at present the line from Mica Dam looks most promising, Coyne said.

Timeline to get such a project built would normally be four to six years, she said.

That could delay the opening of the proposed Harper Creek mine by at least a year.

MLA Terry Lake commented that the project has been assigned to the major investments office, which should reduce the timeline somewhat.

Wells Gray Country director Tim Pennell asked if BC Hydro would provide electrical generators at the mill-site to bridge the gap for the mine until the powerline could be finished.

Pat Bell, Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Innovation, said that while BC Hydro was building the transmission line for the Red Chris mine near Dease Lake, the mining company there agreed to install diesel generators during the wait. The company paid regular grid rates in the interval.

 

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Money for Trophies road

MLA Terry Lake announced $50,000 to upgrade the road to Trophy Mountain.

The road has been a bone of contention for many years. It is located largely outside Wells Gray Park but it gives access to one of the park’s most popular attractions – the Trophy Mountain flower meadows.

The road was originally built as a logging road. However, because it is no longer used for resource extraction, the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations has generally tended to avoid paying for maintenance.

Lake noted that the Clearwater River Road was blocked by slides earlier this year but now is in the process of being cleared. BC Parks is cooperating with other agencies to get the work done, he said.

Rafters and others heavily use the road along the west side of the Clearwater River during the summer months.

Progress on Eight Peaks

The Eight Peaks ski area project proposed by Blue River heli-ski operator Mike Wiegele has been referred to a provincial department that specializes in overseas investment, said Lake.

Progress also is being made on a skiing mega-project proposed for near Valemount.

Pat Bell commented during the forum that about a dozen new ski resorts are being built today in China.

Once people there get interested in skiing, they will want to come to North America to try it out, he said.

Bell noted that our second largest tourism growth is now from China.