B.C.’s energy infrastructure needs upgrades too

A considerable amount of infrastructure revitalization and expansion has taken place in B.C. over the past decade. Nowhere has this been more noticeable than in the transportation sector where billions of dollars have been reinvested in the system.

A considerable amount of infrastructure revitalization and expansion has taken place in B.C. over the past decade. Nowhere has this been more noticeable than in the transportation sector where billions of dollars have been reinvested in the system.

The new Port Mann Bridge. The expansion of Highway 1 from Vancouver to Langley. The new Bennett Bridge in Kelowna. The new Kicking Horse Canyon Bridge east of Golden. The Canada Line to Richmond and YVR. All of these projects have brought, or are in the process of bringing, BC’s transportation system into the 21st century.

Interestingly enough, B.C.’s core hydroelectric dams and transmission systems are also in need of revitalization and expansion. As with much of the B.C.’s core transportation infrastructure, they too were mostly built in the 1950s and 1960s following the Second World War.

However, unlike the province’s transportation infrastructure, which most of us see and physically come into contact with on a daily basis, few of us ever see the province’s energy generating infrastructure.

Yet we rely on this largely unseen energy generating infrastructure as much, if not more, than the province’s transportation infrastructure.

It therefore seems ironic that the public is balking at the revitalization, expansion and modernization of our province’s energy generating and transmission infrastructure and apparently begrudging B.C. Hydro the financial resources needed to bring B.C.’s energy infrastructure into the 21st Century as we’ve done with our roads and bridges.

Failing to reinvest in BC’s energy infrastructure will undoubtedly have negative consequences.  And just because electricity can’t been seen or touched in the same way that roads and bridges can doesn’t mean we can go on expecting it to be supplied to our homes and businesses without reinvesting in, and maintaining, the infrastructure that supplies it to us.

Michael McBratney