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West End Substation

Image overlooking West End Vancouver

We’d like to thank the Vancouver Park Board and City of Vancouver for their decision to approve our request for underground rights-of-way and access easement in Nelson Park for the new West End Substation. These property rights and shared use of land are important components for the construction, operation and maintenance of the new underground substation, which will ensure our customers in downtown Vancouver continue to have access to reliable power.

We believe the West End Substation Project will provide significant benefits to the community, and we look forward to working with the Vancouver School Board, Vancouver Park Board and the City of Vancouver once we move into further stages of consultation, planning and development.

Map of details involving the West End Substation Project

Our electricity system in downtown Vancouver is aging and needs upgrades. A new substation in the West End is needed to replace the Dal Grauer Substation to ensure our customers in downtown Vancouver continue to have access to reliable power.

Our traditional approach to developing new substations is to determine where they're needed, search for appropriate sites, and then build them above-ground. We all know downtown land is scarce and expensive – over the last few years, we explored all available options for a new substation in the West End, which would take up almost half a city block if it were built above-ground. Most suitable and available properties in the West End are currently being used for housing which would need to be removed if purchased for a future West End Substation. If we bought a private property, we'd follow our traditional approach of building an above-ground substation as the cost of private land would make undergrounding the substation cost-prohibitive.

Now that the Vancouver School Board has accepted our proposal for the Lord Roberts Annex property, the property purchase funds will be used for new schools by the VSB, rather than going to a private property owner. This has eliminated the need to purchase private property and potentially take away housing stock from the area, and will result in an out-of-sight underground substation while providing significant funding to the downtown Vancouver school community.

We expect construction for the West End Substation at the Lord Roberts Annex property to begin as early as fall 2024. Originally, we planned construction to begin as early as fall 2023, pending the completion of a new school in Coal Harbour. The Vancouver School Board officially requested an extension of one-year to vacate the Lord Roberts Annex property, to allow for completion of the new school in Coal Harbour, which is currently expected in mid-2024.

Our substation construction is expected to take five years, with approximately three of those years involving excavation and visible active construction, similar to the construction of a large condo tower.

The remaining two years, after we have the substation “roof” installed, will be less noticeable by the community as the majority of activities will take place underground, inside the substation, namely the installation of all substation equipment.

The West End Substation could be in-service as early as 2029.

Our Community Consultation Report [PDF, 5.2 MB], presenting the feedback collected from May 1-31, 2018 is available as well as our Community Consultation Response Memo [PDF, 2.4 MB], which includes our response to some of the key themes that we heard through the community consultation process.

You can visit the Vancouver Parks Board website to review their 2019 engagement results and impact assessment on our request for property rights in Nelson Park. We also issued a response memo [PDF, 368 KB] to the Vancouver Park Board's engagement results on our request.

We’ll be moving forward with public consultation later this spring and will provide details in the coming months.

2017 Stantec preliminary technical, environmental, and socio-economic study

Stantec, an internationally-recognized independent consulting firm, completed a preliminary study looking at our proposal for the Lord Roberts Annex property. This study looked at Nelson Park/Lord Roberts Annex as well as Emery Barnes Park as potential sites for underground substation construction. While Emery Barnes Park is not part of this consultation, or a property BC Hydro is currently pursuing as a substation site, the portion of the study pertaining to Nelson Park/Lord Roberts Annex is still applicable.

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