News Release

We Wai Kai Nation and Wei Wai Kum Nation sign agreement for John Hart project

Campbell River, B.C. – BC Hydro is pleased to announce the signing of an impact benefit agreement with the We Wai Kai Nation (Cape Mudge Indian Band) and the Wei Wai Kum Nation (Campbell River Indian Band) for the proposed John Hart Generating Station Replacement Project.
 
This major milestone will provide both First Nations with a number of benefits including training and education funds, economic development opportunities related to the construction of the project and also wider involvement in BC Hydro’s watershed activities.
 
One of the examples of the benefits provided by the agreement is for the We Wai Kai Nation and Wei Wai Kum Nation to be more directly involved with BC Hydro in the preservation and enhancement of salmon stocks within the Campbell River System Hydroelectric Facilities.
 
The agreement, signed on June 22, is the culmination of many meetings and discussions with the two First Nations and it lays the foundation for the continuation of mutually beneficial relationships.
 
The John Hart Generating Station has provided clean, reliable power for more than 65 years and, on behalf of its customers, BC Hydro is making a major investment of about $1 billion to $1.2 billion in the facility to ensure it continues to deliver value for years to come.
 
Quotes
 
Ralph Dick, We Wai Kai Nation Chief:
“It has been a long and complicated process to get where we are today. It takes time for important decisions like this to allow for better understandings on both sides. Our people feel we are now in a better place with BC Hydro and believe this project will be good for the We Wai Kai. It will also be good for the wider Campbell River community. It is important for our people to grow, so we look forward to the training, the work opportunities, and the environmental stewardship.”
 
Bob Pollard, Campbell River Indian Band Chief:
“This IBA means a lot for our improving relationship with BC Hydro. It is a sign for a better future for us in our involvement with John Hart, and for the longer term, participation and a role within the lower sections of this hydroelectric watershed for important symbols to our community like salmon. This signing turns us towards a new direction.”
 
Hon. Rich Coleman, Ministry of Energy and Mines:
“The signing of this agreement with the We Wai Kai Nation and Wei Wai Kum Nation is another positive step towards beginning the construction of the John Hart Replacement project next summer. This project will improve safety and the reliability of John Hart and will create 400 jobs per year over the five years of construction.”
 
Chris O’Riley, Executive Vice President, Generation, BC Hydro:
“BC Hydro is very appreciative of the We Wai Kai Nation and the Wei Wai Kum Nation for signing this important agreement. This is a valued milestone and an important day for BC Hydro, both First Nations and the Campbell River community.”
 
Background:

  • The John Hart facility has been operating since 1947. There are three key reasons why BC Hydro is proposing the John Hart Generating Station Replacement Project:

o Safety. The generating station and pipelines may not withstand a low to moderate earthquake;
o Reliability. The six generating units are in poor condition and their capacity is declining; and  
o Environment. The environmental risk of a generating station shutdown and river flow reduction, with subsequent impacts to fish habitat.

  • The proposed project is to construct a replacement water intake at the John Hart Spillway Dam, replace the three 1.8 kilometre long pipelines with a 2.1 kilometre tunnel, construct a replacement generating station beside the existing station and a new water bypass facility. The existing station may continue to operate during the construction phase and then transfer operations during the commissioning period to the new facility.
  • BC Hydro is working towards receiving all project regulatory approvals by spring 2013 and beginning construction in summer 2013.

About BC Hydro
Fifty years ago, British Columbians turned to BC Hydro to build the clean electricity system they count on to power B.C.'s economy, create jobs in every region, and keep the lights on. Now, BC Hydro is building again for the next 50 years. B.C. continues to grow and so has the need for more electricity. That’s why BC Hydro is building and renewing electricity infrastructure, and encouraging conservation to meet today’s needs and those of future generations.
 
About We Wai Kai Nation
The people of the We Wai Kai Nation live in two main communities, Cape Mudge Village and Quinsam Reserve. Cape Mudge Village is located on the south-west coast of Quadra Island. Quinsam Reserve is located in north-western Campbell River on the central east coast of Vancouver Island.  In 2007 the Quinsam Centre opened and is one of the main locations for community activities. The We Wai Kai Nation has a population of approximately 1000 members, of which an estimated 500 live off the reserves.  
 
About We Wai Kum Nation
The Wei Wai Kum Nation (Campbell River Indian Band) is an integral part of the social fabric of Campbell River, participating in community functions and including the community in traditional First Nations celebrations. The Nation has enjoyed success with a variety of economic development projects including the Campbell River Cruise Ship Terminal, Discovery Harbour Marina and Shopping Centre, House of Treasures native art and gift shop and the Thunderbird Campground.

For more information, please contact:
 
BC Hydro Media Relations
Direct: 604-928-6468
www.bchydro.com/media
 
Chief Ralph Dick
We Wai Kai Nation
250-285-3316
Web: http://www.wewaikai.com/
 
Chief Bob Pollard
Campbell River Indian Band
250-286-6949
Web: http://www.crband.ca/index.php