Every year in February, B.C. celebrates Heritage Week. This is an opportunity for communities to come together and learn about their history.
In 2012, the theme will be Energy in British Columbia – A Powerful Past, a Sustainable Future. The Hope Visitor Centre and Museum Complex is currently doing research into three aspects of power and energy heritage in the Hope area and we are looking for any stories, pictures, and documents you have to share!
First, we are exploring the building of the pipelines in this area. In 1953 Trans Mountain laid the final portion of their Edmonton to Vancouver oil pipeline through the Coquihalla Valley. In 1957 a natural gas pipeline was laid, and in 1979 this line was expanded to serve growing demand.
Second, we are researching the building of the Wahleach Power Station by the BC Electric Company (now BC Hydro). In December 1952 the project was officially opened.
Finally, we are interested in the conflict surrounding the proposed building of the High Ross Dam in Washington State. B.C. Premier W.A.C. Bennett approved the flooding in exchange for $35,000 a year. The dam would have flooded approximately 5,000 acres of the Skagit Valley. The R.O.S.S. (Run Out Skagit Spoilers) Committee was formed to save the valley, and embarked upon one of the first environmental campaigns in B.C. history. The area was subsequently named a provincial Recreation Area in 1973 and after more than 20 years of battling, in April 1982, it was announced that the Skagit was safe from flooding.
The Hope area has a rich energy history and we need your help to uncover it! Anyone with memories, photos, documents, or other suggestions for research topics is encouraged to contact Kim or Inge at the Hope Visitor Centre & Museum Complex.
The Hope Visitor Centre at 919 Water Avenue is open daily from 10-4 and can be reached by telephone at 604-869-2021 or 1-866-HOPEVIC.
Kim Campbell & Inge Wilson
Hope Visitor Centre & Museum Complex