Public viewing area open at Waneta Expansion Project
Partners in the Waneta Expansion Project – Fortis Inc., Columbia Power Corporation and Columbia Basin Trust – and the Community Impact Management Committee invite you to visit the project’s viewing area this summer.
The viewing area and platform, constructed by the contractor, provide a place across Highway 22A to safely watch construction, view interpretive signage, and overlook the confluence of the Columbia and Pend d’Oreille Rivers.
“The viewing area was the result of a desire to keep the public safe as construction activities ramped up,” said Ali Grieve, Area A Director for the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary and Community Impact Management Committee member. ”We encourage everyone to stop by to experience one of the largest hydroelectric projects currently under construction in the province.”
Over a year and a half into construction, there is a lot to see.
“The project places an emphasis on the local region and communities,” said Audrey Repin, spokesperson for the Waneta Expansion Project. “We are pleased that 80 per cent of the current workforce comes from our local communities. In addition, the project has provided over $94 million to local businesses for the purchases of goods and services.”
Over the past year, the project reached a major milestone with the substantial completion of excavation, including the powerhouse, intake and tunnels.
Additional project highlights:
- over 300 people working directly on the project;
- strong environmental record
- an injury rate which is approximately 10 times lower than the industry average;
- a socio-economic monitoring program which ensures the impacts to the area are documented and available to the public – see http://www.columbiapower.org/SEM2011; and
- monthly meetings of a Community Impact Management Committee which provides ongoing support to encourage positive community impacts and benefits, and relays community concerns resulting from construction of the project.
Planning is underway for a community day celebration at the construction site in 2013.