North Thompson politicians met with Premier Christy Clark Tuesday in a bid to bring reliable electricity to the valley — seeking to avoid incidents like Monday’s loss of power for 10,000 people.
“We want continuity of service,” said Clearwater Mayor John Harwood, who met with Clark along with regional district representatives and mayors from Barriere, McBride and Valemount.
“We want a backup . . . We want it looped so when we lose power, as we did yesterday, we have a backup.”
Harwood said B.C. Hydro is looking at bringing another power source from other locations, including 100 Mile House, Prince George or from the Mica Dam, but the alternatives have yet to be costed.
In addition to wanting more reliable service, the valley is also asking the province to follow up on pledges to increase capacity in the North Thompson Valley, primarily for proposed mines, including Yellowhead Mining’s Harper Creek project.
Together, regional district officials estimate mining projects in the valley could bring 1,000 jobs. But none can move ahead without increasing power to the valley.
The meeting with Premier Clark came during the annual Union of B.C. Municipalities meeting.
In addition to pushing for B.C. Hydro investment, Harwood wants the province to ensure medical services are available in his community, which has suffered from a long-term decline in physicians and other medical professionals.
“More and more they are bringing in nurses by contract,” he said. “We’d like to see greater emphasis on residential people.”
Harwood met with the Interior Health Authority’s CEO recently with the same message. The mayor said doctors, nurses and other medical professionals are coming for short stays only, leaving a void in the valley.