Powering up, to light up Metro Vancouver

Ruskin dam refit on eastern border of Maple Ridge done, more or less

The new generators are humming, the five new seismically strengthened gates are working and the old power house has been renovated, with the ugly switchyard moved atop the hill to make Ruskin Dam and Powerhouse a lot more pleasing to the eye.

The six-year $748-million project, is complete for all intents and purposes and the powerhouse is humming along on all three new turbines and generators, cranking out enough power to turn on lights and computers for 33,000 Metro Vancouver homes.

But a big question most people may be asking is – when does Hayward Street atop the dam re-open – so commuters have another shortcut option to get them past tie-ups on Lougheed Highway or Dewdney Trunk Road.

That won’t be for awhile, says project manager Boyd Mason. Maybe next year, even.

Agreeements have to be worked out with the District of Mission, the power generating site itself has to be secured, while, even the concrete has yet to be poured for the road, which will have two lanes instead of the previous one, along with a sidewalk and bike lane.

In addition, the nearby recreational areas and parking lots need restoring so the official ribbon cutting for the whole project is months way, possibly this October.

“There were a lot of time and logistical challenges to this work,” Mason said. The installation of new turbines from Brazil, complemented the rebuilt generators that produce the power.

That will provide a boost of power of about eight per cent.

“So we’re using the same amount of water, we’re just getting more out it,” he said.

All of the work had to be done while the station kept running and pumping out power. Mason compared the task to doing a brake and engine overhaul on your vehicle while it was driving down the highway.

Mason explained during a tour of the site Tuesday that when excavating for installing a new berm on one side of the new dam, crews found part of an abandoned railway. Farther up the slope, a First Nations cultural site dating back 9,000 years was discovered, and then left in place, according to the wishes of the Kwantlen First Nation.

The project, with five massive spillway gates replacing the previous seven, was built to withstand a one-in-10,000-year earthquake, with the main goal of keeping Hayward Lake from breaching the dam.

A main symbol of the dam is the original light bulb switched on when the dam was completed in 1930, and which has remained lit since.

It hasn’t been decided but the bulb could find a permanent home in the Stave Falls Powerhouse Visitor Centre upstream.

A major last remaining piece are decorative concrete plaques that soon will be attached to the spillway showing First Nations designs.

Dates for an official opening and ribbon cutting haven’t been determined.

Energy, Mines, and Petroleum Resources Minister Michelle Mungall and Maple Ridge-Mission MLA Bob D’Eith toured the project along with B.C. Hydro president Chris O’Riley.

 

Original light bulb, from 1930, continues to burn. (Phil Melnychuk/THE NEWS)

BC Hydro president Chris O’Riley, project manager Boyd Mason, Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources Minister Michelle Mungall, MLA Bob D’Eith at completed Ruskin Powerhouse and Dam upgrade. (Phil Melnychuk/THE NEWS)

Plaque had been on building for years.

Just Posted

Cindy Young makes second run for top political job at the District of Hope

Young, in her run for mayor, is campaigning to attract business to Hope and keep local youth in the community

New bus route to ‘replace’ Greyhound along Trans-Canada Highway

Rider Express Transportation says they will soon begin a bus service from Winnipeg to Vancouver

Six Sto:lo chiefs sign MOU agreement affirming Indigenous rights

Moving to next phase of nation-to-nation negotiation in preparation for final treaty

‘Police are ready’ for legal pot, say Canadian chiefs

But Canadians won’t see major policing changes as pot becomes legal

Quick action by Silver Creek ESSO staff Sunday night prevented electrical fire from spreading

Fire chief Tom DeSorcy says the public can also help prevent gas station fires from spreading

Legal pot price must be ‘competitive’ with black market: Blair

Bill Blair shared final words on journey to legalization ahead of official day Wednesday

Boeser tallies in OT as Canucks beat Penguins 3-2

Vancouver wins without star rookie Pettersson

U.S. pot firm urges Trump to deny Canadian producers ‘competitive advantage’

The challenge for U.S. firms lies in the fact that while recreational cannabis is legal in nine states and medicinal pot in 22 others, it remains illegal under federal law

Mayor of Kamloops says ‘history has been made’ with vote on B.C.’s lone pot shop

The store to be run by the province in B.C.’s Interior is opening Wednesday as pot sales become legal across Canada

Government says imprisoned Canadian terror suspects must face consequences

Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale showed little sympathy Tuesday for such individuals who now want to return to Canada

How rules for inmate segregation in Canada will change under Bill C-83

Federal government proposing changes to rules around inmates in federal correctional institutions

Canada Post union issues strike notice; rotating strikes could begin Monday

Union says rotating strikes will begin if agreements aren’t reached with bargaining units

Carole James avoids questions on B.C.’s payroll tax (with video)

Green MLA Adam Olsen cites huge tax increase for local business

Most Read