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News Release

John Hart Project brings jobs and reliable electricity to Vancouver Island

Campbell River – BC Hydro is proceeding with an environmental and regulatory review application for the John Hart upgrade. It is also posting a project procurement RFQ on BC Bid later today. One of BC Hydro’s largest capital projects, the proposed John Hart project, is now one step closer to construction.

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 $1.35 billion in the facility to ensure it continues to deliver value for years to come.

The project will create about 400 jobs a year over the five years of construction. First Nations, the Campbell River community and the surrounding region will have an opportunity to be directly involved and benefit economically from the project construction.

BC Hydro, in partnership with the Campbell River and District Chamber of Commerce, Vancouver Island Construction Association and Vancouver Island Economic Alliance, has launched a web portal site that provides an online registration forum for businesses and suppliers.

BC Hydro continues consultation with First Nations, stakeholders and the general public on the safety, reliability and potential environmental impacts of the John Hart Generating Project, a process started in 2007. BC Hydro is also negotiating impact benefit agreements with First Nations potentially impacted by the project.

BC Hydro’s goal is to complete the regulatory processes and award the construction contract by summer 2013. BC Hydro is working towards having the first replacement generating unit in-service by 2017. The project is scheduled to be complete by the end of 2018.

Key Project Information:

  • The project will include replacing the existing three 1.8-kilometre long penstocks with a 2.1-kilometre tunnel through bedrock, constructing a replacement generating station beside the existing station, constructing a replacement water intake at the John Hart Spillway Dam, and building a new water bypass facility.
  • The estimated cost of the John Hart Project is $1.35 billion, one of the largest capital projects BC Hydro is undertaking as it invests in critical infrastructure to ensure sufficient, safe and reliable electricity both now and for the future.
  • Once complete, the project will increase the reliability and power supply of the generating station, improve the seismic safety of the facility, and enhance water flows to fish habitat.
  • Next project steps include filing a federal Environmental Assessment Report with Fisheries and Oceans Canada later this month and filing a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (CPCN) Application with the British Columbia Utilities Commission later this spring.


Hon. Rich Coleman, Minister of Energy and Mines:
“John Hart has provided clean, reliable power for people on Vancouver Island for the past 65 years, and it’s now time to reinvest so that it continues to for generations to come. The project will create about 400 jobs a year over the five years of construction, providing economic benefits to families and businesses in the area.”

Chris O’Riley, Executive Vice President, Generation, BC Hydro:
“There is a real sense of momentum as we take these significant steps forward in the various approval processes required for the proposed John Hart project. Over the past four years, we have engaged the Campbell River community and there is strong local support. We will continue to ensure all First Nations and key stakeholders are involved as this significant project proceeds to next steps.”

Mayor Walter Jakeway, City of Campbell River:
“This is great news for the Campbell River community that the John Hart project continues to move forward. The City is very supportive of the project and its many benefits, from protecting the river salmon fishery, to site recreation and tourism, to the major jobs that will be created. The City continues to positively work with BC Hydro through its multiple community engagement processes.”

Don McRae, MLA for Comox Valley:
“I’m delighted to see the John Hart project moving one step closer to reality. A project of this magnitude will bring many benefits to the Comox Valley area with not just construction jobs but also many spin-off jobs as well. The economic impact of this project cannot be underestimated for the families and businesses of this region.”

Additional project background:

  • John Hart Generating Station is located on Vancouver Island near Campbell River. It has been operating since 1947 and is one of the oldest generating facilities in BC Hydro’s hydroelectric system.
  • John Hart is currently a 6-unit, 121-megawatt generating facility that produces 778 gigawatt hours per year. This configuration will be replaced with three 46-megawatt units that will produce 835 gigawatt hours per year – enough electricity to supply approximately 80,000 homes.
  • BC Hydro reviewed a number of possible project alternatives to replacement, including deferral, rehabilitation and decommissioning. After weighing the financial, environmental and social considerations of these options, the BC Hydro Board approved the facility replacement alternative.

• To view the John Hart project video that illustrates the construction that will be taking place at the facility over the coming years and for more information on the project, please visit

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.

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For more information, contact:
BC Hydro Media Relations
Direct: 604 928 6468