After a rocky start, work is rolling forward on the latest independent power project to plant itself in the Squamish area.
The Sea to Sky Power Corp. has secured required permits and drafted the blueprint for a hydro project on Skookum Creek, 12 kilometres east of town. Two years ago, the proposal for a 25-megawatt, $92-milllion project hit rough terrain when local mountain bike and dirt bike groups noted the power line would slice through some of the community’s most renowned trails, including the Ring Creek Rip.
The power line follows the Mamquam River seven kilometres downstream before it joins existing B.C. Hydro right-of-way that runs behind Quest University and Alice and Cat lakes. The proposed line then connects to the electrical grid at the Cheekye Substation, north of Brackendale.
The issues have been resolved, said Mike Nelson, SORCA’s government liaison.
“We have reached a key principal agreement,” he said.
The power corporation will twin approximately 2.5 kilometres of the upper Ring Creek Rip trail affected by the power line alignment, Nelson said. The power line’s route has been redirected to run through a clear cut south of the Rip and Powerhouse Plunge trails, he added.
Nelson said he expects work on the new portion of the Rip to take place before riding season kicks in.
The project was granted all its required permits last August, the project’s president Rick Hopp told The Chief.
“We have begun construction of the powerhouse,” he said.
The power line right-of-way is being cleared and portions of the pipe put in place, Hopp noted. The water main will not be hooked up until the snow melts at the end of winter, he said.
B.C. Hydro has to organize its end of the project at the substation, Hopp said, noting the power corporation’s work is expected to be complete in mid-November. The plant should be up and running by 2014.
“Everything is on schedule right now,” he said.