Belcarra Park affected by power line expansion

By BC Hydro says route is in an existing right-of-way

A BC Hydro power line that has raised concerns among Anmore residents will also pass through a portion of Belcarra Regional Park.

But the utility company says the work to add an additional 230kV transmission line will be done along a right of way that has been in existence since 1947 and the new line will be consolidated with an existing line, reducing the number of structures along the route.

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The concerns come as Metro Vancouver seeks more information about the project, which would be built along the western edge of the park in 2019 if the BC Utilities Commission grants approval.

In a letter sent to the BC Hydro in November, Metro Vancouver sought the rationale for the work and a response to concerns about the preservation of ecological values in the park.

And while Hydro hasn't replied to Metro Vancouver, spokesperson Judy Dobrowolski said the power authority will be "reaching out to the Metro Vancouver regional parks committee providing them with an update."

As well, she said, Hydro is in talks with local environmental groups such as the Burrard Inlet Marine Enhancement Society and Port Moody Ecological Society.

According to Dobrowolski, field work is still going on to determine the impacts of the project but she said that the line will be along an existing right-of-way including about 2 km along the western the edge of the park, across BC Hydro-owned land, and at Admiralty Point, owned by the federal government, where the line will be consolidated with existing lines and pass over Burrard Inlet to Burnaby.

Park impacts will be kept to a minimum, she said, although some hazardous trees may have to be modified to prevent them from toppling onto the line. But rather than chopping them down, Dobrowolski said they would be kept in place to provide wildlife and plant habitat.

As well, she said an access point may be needed for moving equipment and workers, although the area would be restored. "If we do need to develop access we'll minimize that as much as possible and we'll deactivate it as soon as possible," she added.
According to BC Hydro, the additional line is needed to ensure the region has enough power to accommodate growth.

In Anmore, where the right-of-way crosses private property, residents would like to see the line placed underground for health and safety reasons. But BC Hydro maintains the $35 million additional cost to bury the line would be difficult to justify when there is space in the existing right of way for an overhead line.

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