News Release

K’ómoks First Nation and BC Hydro sign agreement for John Hart project

Nov. 3, 2012

COMOX – BC Hydro and the K’ómoks First Nation have signed an impact benefit agreement for the proposed John Hart Generating Station Replacement project.

The agreement, signed on Nov. 3, will provide the K’ómoks First Nation with a number of benefits, including training and education funds and economic development opportunities related to the construction of the project. The K’ómoks’ asserted traditional territory includes the project area. BC Hydro has been consulting with K’ómoks on the project since 2007.

The John Hart Generating Station has provided clean, reliable power for more than 65 years and BC Hydro is making a major investment of up to $1.2 billion in the facility to ensure it continues to deliver value for years to come.

Quotes

K’ómoks First Nation Spokesperson Melissa Quocksister:  


“K’ómoks is pleased to have concluded these negotiations with BC Hydro. As we move towards a Treaty, we will be working towards more agreements that will support the future of our Nation and the Comox Valley. We are also very appreciative of Don McRae, MLA, for helping the parties reach an agreement.”

Hon. Rich Coleman, Ministry of Energy and Mines:
“This agreement will bring many benefits to the K’ómoks First Nation like skills training and other economic opportunities. The K’ómoks will also continue to receive clean, reliable power from the John Hart Generating Station.”

Hon. Ida Chong, Minister of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation:
“Agreements such as this bring certainty to important projects, create jobs for families and help create economic independence for First Nations. The commitment of the K’ómoks and BC Hydro to these negotiations is commendable and will benefit the community.”

Don McRae, MLA Comox:
“This agreement not only benefits the K’ómoks First Nation, but also sets a positive economic example for the Comox Valley community. I look forward to seeing the benefits of the K’ómoks First Nation’s investment with BC Hydro’s John Hart Generating Station Replacement project.”

Chris O’Riley, Executive Vice President, Generation, BC Hydro:
“I would like to congratulate the K’ómoks First Nation for taking this important step forward with us. While the negotiations were challenging, both parties persevered through the process to emerge with a stronger relationship.” 

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:

            Safety. The generating station and pipelines may not withstand a low to moderate     
            earthquake;
            Reliability. The six generating units are in poor condition and their capacity is declining; and 
            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 K’ómoks  

For thousands of years Aboriginal people occupied the shoreline of eastern Vancouver Island. The K’ómoks people have used and occupied the place referred to as, "the land of plenty"., including  the K’ómoks Estuary since time beyond memory.

Currently, the people of the K’ómoks First Nation still occupy the land and sea that includes the K’ómoks Estuary. The nation continues to protect the resources and culturally significant remains of the land and sea, and provide food and wealth for the people. On March 26th, 2012, Canada, British Columbia and the K’ómoks First Nation signed an Agreement In Principle which is a further step towards protecting the lands and resources of the K’ómoks people for future generations.

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For more information, please contact:
Melissa Quocksister, K’ómoks First Nation Communications
p. 250-334-6515
w.  http://www.comoxbandtreaty.ca/
e. info@comoxbandtreaty.ca

BC Hydro Media Relations
p. 604-928-6468
w.  www.bchydro.com/media