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

Chilliwack firefighters douse Yarrow shed fire

No one injured in the Tuesday afternoon blaze

Chilliwack gymnast to compete in Pan American Championships

Canadian national teamer Zachary Clay travels to Peru in September for international competition.

Harv Westeringh announces run for Chilliwack council

The local realtor/builder has strong interest in municipal issues and fiscal responsibility

Night patrol on Chilliwack waters leads DFO to seize 48 sockeye and harbour seal from poachers

Charges pending after two poachers arrested for fishing at night

Highway 7 down to one-lane alternating as crews fight Mt. Hicks wildfire

150-hectare blaze prompted closure of a provincial park

Average Canadian family spends 43% of income on taxes: study

Fraser Institute’s consumer report shows taxes accounting for larger chunk of income each year

Women-owned businesses generate $68,000 less revenue than men’s: survey

When Dionne Laslo-Baker sought a bank loan to expand her burgeoning organic popsicle and freezies business in 2014, she was “shocked” by the feedback she received from one of the bankers.

Hedley frontman’s alleged sex offences case returns to court

Jacob Hoggard faces three sexual assault-related charges will return to a Toronto courtroom this morning.

Climate change likely to cause more sewage leaks, says environment minister

More than one hundred municipal wastewater systems did not report how much raw sewage overflowed from their pipes in 2017.

Priests molested 1,000 children in Pennsylvania, report says

The “real number” of abused children and abusive priests might be higher since some secret church records were lost and some victims never came forward.

Defiant as Trump rages, Omarosa says she won’t be silenced

Manigault Newman declared she will not be silenced by President Donald Trump, remaining defiant as her public feud with her former boss shifted from a war of words to a possible legal battle.

Death toll hits 39 in Italy bridge collapse; blame begins

The collapse of the Morandi Bridge sent dozens of cars and three trucks plunging as much as 45 metres (150 feet) to the ground Tuesday.

RCMP to search for body after man drowns in B.C.’s Buntzen Lake

Officers and fire crews responded but the man from the Lower Mainland is believed to have drowned.

Police chiefs call for stricter controls on pill presses to fight opioids

Canada’s police chiefs are urging Ottawa to beef up its fight against the opioid scourge by closely vetting people who import pill presses

Most Read