BC Hydro construction in the Nicola Valley will be a major driver in the area economy in the coming years, predicts City of Merritt economic development officer Deanne Parise.
"We've had a lot of activity regarding the fact that we have power now," she told city council at its regular meeting Tuesday.
Parise delivered Community Futures Nicola Valley's (CFNV) annual report for economic development in Merritt for 2010 to city council at the meeting. CFNV is the city's contractor for economic development services.
The report highlighted the economic development office's work with BC Hydro on the Merritt Transmission Project and Interior-Lower Mainland (ILM) transmission line as two of last year's major accomplishments.
The Merritt Transmission Project would double the local electrical supply and the ILM line would pass through the Nicola Valley, carrying power to the Lower Mainland.
Parise said both projects would bring well-paying jobs throughout the construction phase and Merritt's increased power supply would attract new industries when complete.
"It's as big as when they built the Coquihalla," she said of the ILM project, estimated to cost $602 million.
However, ILM construction has been delayed since 2009 due to a dispute between BC Hydro and the Upper Nicola band.
She added that the young prosperous workers providing much of the manpower for construction and staffing new businesses would further stimulate the economy.
"We have a huge gap of population as you know, from 25-38.
"They buy everything. They want everything. They have babies."