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For Immediate Release


June 9, 2009

Ministry of Environment




VICTORIA – British Columbia Transmission Corporation (the proponent) has received an environmental assessment (EA) certificate for its proposed Interior to Lower Mainland Transmission Project.


Environment Minister Barry Penner and Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources Minister Blair Lekstrom made the decision to grant the EA certificate after considering the review led by B.C.’s Environmental Assessment Office (EAO).


The proposed project, a 255-kilometre, 500-kilovolt transmission line, would run from the Nicola substation near Merritt to the Meridian substation in Coquitlam. The project would predominantly use existing right-of-ways, but would require approximately 74 kilometres of new right-of-way and approximately 60 kilometres of right-of-way widening to accommodate the new line. The project would also include new access roads, a new capacitor station at Ruby Creek, termination equipment at the Nicola and Meridian substations, and other system requirements.


Lekstrom and Penner say the project is intended to ensure a continued safe and reliable source of electricity for B.C.’s growing communities in the Lower Mainland and on Vancouver Island by providing increased capacity to transfer clean, renewable energy from BC Hydro's large hydroelectric projects in the Interior. Once completed, the transmission line would be owned by BC Hydro and operated by the BC Transmission Corporation.


The EAO Assessment Report concluded the project is not likely to have significant adverse effects, based on the mitigation measures and commitments included as conditions of the EA certificate. The provincial EA certificate contains 94 commitments the proponent must implement throughout various stages of the project.


Key commitments include the following:


·        Implementing measures to minimize habitat loss for the northern spotted owl and providing funding for the captive breeding and re-introduction program, and habitat enhancement.

·        Making best efforts to secure the wetland site for the Oregon spotted frog population and providing funding to the Ministry of Environment to complete six years of egg mass surveys.

·        Providing funding to the Ministry of Forests and Range for projects that would have the greatest impact in mitigating the loss of timber harvesting land base resulting from the project.

·        Avoiding in-stream works on fish-bearing watercourses.



Before the project can proceed, the proponent would still need to obtain the necessary provincial licences, leases and other approvals. This includes a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity, which is presently before the B.C. Utilities Commission for consideration. In addition, the provincial government has committed to further discussions regarding reconciliation with First Nations, who have expressed interests and concern regarding the project and the existing transmission lines.


Sixty First Nations and seven tribal councils were consulted on the assessment, and the B.C. government is satisfied the Crown’s duties to consult and accommodate First Nations interests have been discharged in relation to the EA certificate.


The capital cost of the proposed project is estimated at $602 million, while operation and maintenance costs are estimated at $316,000 per year. The labour force required for the construction of the project is estimated at 543 person-years. During the operational phase of the project, 280 to 420 person-hours would be required annually, mainly for vegetation and line maintenance activities.


More information on the environmental assessment certificate can be found at







Matt Gordon

Communications Director

250 387-9973


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