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Northwest Transmission Line to boost economic development

Increased electricity supply to Terrace area will 'kickstart' economy

The way George Chinn tells it, the Northwest Transmission Line is the greatest news to the residents of Terrace in more than 10 years.

George Chinn of Coast Mountain Geological counts himself as a big supporter of the Northwest Transmission Line.  

"It's going to create jobs," he says on the phone from his home. "It'll make the town more prosperous by putting people to work."

The project includes a new substation near Bob Quinn Lake and a new power line between that new facility and the Skeena substation near Terrace.

"People are absolutely happy this is happening," says Chinn, who does exploration work for Coast Mountain Geological.

Economy affected by mill closures

Carole Fielding heads up the Terrace Chamber of Commerce and says that the community has faced many challenges in recent years due to the closure of mills.

Those operations used to be the primary employers and provided the foundation for the rest of the businesses in the area. When those mills closed, the local economy sputtered.

"The younger people had to move away to find work," Fielding explains.

Powering mining and exploration

Chinn said that the increased supply of electricity to the Terrace area is essential for the local economic and industrial development so needed by the community.

Mining companies would otherwise need to run diesel generators for electricity, but the cost of fuel has become too high. Being able to power their operations with a source of clean energy means greater investment in the Terrace region.

Not to mention the improved air quality resulting from fewer pollutants in the atmosphere. It's an issue, says Fielding, that the surrounding communities, including the businesses and companies looking to expand, are very aware of.

Local economy benefits, too

BC Hydro's Lesley Wood says the impact of the new transmission line goes beyond what it does for mining in the region. "It will help kickstart the economy," says the community relations specialist.

The Forrest Kerr run-of-river hydroelectric plant and other clean power projects, all of which will provide employment opportunities, will connect to the NTL. Families will benefit from the three-year NTL construction phase that is expected to generate an average of 860 person-years of full-time direct employment.

The operational phase of the project is expected to generate more than 36 person-years of employment over the life of the project.

Chinn says merchants in Terrace will also benefit from the increased activity in the area.

"We can afford to do improvements to the city," he says, and the real estate market is starting to surge.

Fielding agrees. "I know from the feedback I get from the business community that they are excited about the project and they are hopeful this signals a change in the economy."

"People are starting to walk around with smiles on their faces again," says Chinn.

BC Hydro Community Open House in Terrace, June 4

Bring your family to enjoy a free event complete with bucket truck rides, kids activities, food and a host of experts to answer your questions about BC Hydro.

On Saturday, June 4, we'll be at the BC Hydro Office, 5220 Keith Avenue in Terrace, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

  • Learn about Open Houses across B.C. in 2011

About BC Hydro's capital projects investments

As B.C. has grown, so has our need for clean electricity. Our goal is to manage our growth through conservation and the smart use of power, but we also need to renew our infrastructure to meet the needs of future generations.

That's why we're investing now to ensure a legacy of clean, reliable power for British Columbians for the next 50 years and beyond.