Friday April 18, 2014

Barriere mayor ponders hydro upgrades

Kinder Morgan has requested more power in the North Thompson for its proposed pipeline twinning project, which has Barriere Mayor Bill Humphreys hoping much-needed hydro upgrades are in the cards.

However, Kamloops-North Thompson MLA Terry Lake doubts the improvements, should they occur, are what valley residents are looking for.

Humphreys has seen a copy of a letter B.C. Hydro sent Lake stating Kinder Morgan has made an upgrade application to B.C. Hydro. Hydro will look into the proposal in the new year, he said.

"I have no idea what that would be. We haven't had that conversation yet," said Humphreys, adding he'd like to meet with Lake on this.

Valley resident have asked the province to follow up on pledges to increase hydro capacity in the North Thompson Valley, primarily for proposed mines, including Yellowhead Mining's Harper Creek project.

There hasn't been movement on the Yellowhead project for some time, and Humphreys believes improvements shouldn't hinge on any one project.

"We've got to get to the core of the thing, which is that the whole North Thompson is poorly serviced, and plan for the future so when Yellowhead and other businesses come on line what we've designed doesn't have to be done two, three or four times," he said.

Ideally, the existing hydro line would be looped to prevent outages when disaster strikes, Humphreys said.

Lake said Kinder Morgan's needs would be in the lower half of the North Thompson, while many of the power woes are near Clearwater.

He said the letter from B.C. Hydro is vague in its proposal and the assessment is in the early stages.

"I think their strategy at this point is to work along the existing line and do things like brush removal so there are fewer things that can impact the existing line," said Lake.

A spokesperson for B.C. Hydro could not be reached for comment.

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