Delegates from local First Nations

FortisBC breaks ground on new Castlegar facility

FortisBC held a ground breaking ceremony on the site of its future Kootenay Operation Centre on Thursday.

FortisBC held a ground breaking ceremony on the site of its future Kootenay Operation Centre on Thursday.

Local community leaders joined FortisBC representatives in breaking out some shovels, and offered words of support for the new centre. Delegates included representatives from three local First Nations, all of whom spoke favourably about the experience of consulting with FortisBC on the project.

“It is an important and historical time for First Nations and corporations, one were we all must move together toward reconciliation. This will require we learn to understand each other better through each others point of view and experiences,” Chief Keith Crow of the Lower Similkameen Indian Band read on behalf of Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, chairman and spokesperson of the Okanagan Nation Alliance. “For many years the Crown and third party interests were busy finding ways to deny and confuse our title and rights, but those days are behind us, and I am pleased that FortisBC has taken important bold steps to recognize our communities and the importance of our voices on land and in future decision making.”

Daniel Joe, councillor for the Splatsin First Nation, and Jared Basil, councillor for the Lower Kootenay Band, were also among the delegates.

FortisBC not only consulted with First Nations when planning to build the Kootenay Operations Centre in Ootischenia, but also with community members. As a result of the consultation, the centre is designed to above-code energy standards to reduce energy use and long-term environmental impact. FortisBC is also putting in a landscaped pathway on the east side of the site to allow locals safe access along Columbia Rd. and Ootischenia Rd.

“One of the concerns from the community there are about 40 residential neighbours was just safe access, so that’s why we built in that pathway and I think it does help enhance the area as well,” said Nicole Bogdanovic, corporate communications advisor for FortisBC.

The landscaping will include a number of trees and shrubs, including trembling aspen and skyrocket juniper.

The centre is being built on a 10-acre lot and will be 30,000 sq. ft. 23,000 sq. ft. of office space and 7,000 sq. ft. of warehouse space and will also include an Emergency Operations Centre. The facility will replace aging buildings and will also allow FortisBC to centralize some key operations by moving approximately 100 existing employees power line technicians, substation electricians, engineers, designers and other administration staff and field crews that work with transmission and distribution services into the same building.

Though the facility will not create new long-term jobs, Mayor Chernoff was still excited about the benefits it will bring to Castlegar.

“This project represents a significant investment in our community. The overall project is close to $23 million and the site construction alone is expected to be around $12 million,” said Chernoff. “It will bring both short-term construction jobs and long-term jobs to our community on a daily basis, which makes a huge investment into our community.”

The employees relocating from South Slocan to Castlegar will also no doubt spend money at local businesses, which will benefit the city economically.

Revelstoke-based general contractor Vic Van Isle Construction is building the facility, which is expected to be complete by October 2017.

 

Just Posted

South Okanagan-Kootenay MP calls federal budget ‘not bold enough’

Richard Cannings, MP for South OK and Kootenay communities says budget missed the mark

Parmedics union raises alarm over spike in out-of-service ambulances

Staffing shortages affecting service levels in Kootenays

Update: Car located in Pend d’Oreille River, teenagers remain missing

A fundraiser has been set up at Kootenay Savings in Fruitvale to help support the family

Spring has sprung in the Kootenays

Showers and temperatures near the seasonal norm of 10 C are expected by Sunday

Two missing in Pend d’Oreille crash

A 15-year-old male and 18-year-old female both from Fruitvale are missing and presumed deceased

Five highlights in the 2019 federal budget

Latest budget includes a sprinkling of money for voters across a wide spectrum

Facebook to overhaul ad targeting to prevent discrimination

The company is also paying about $5 million to cover plaintiffs’ legal fees and other costs

B.C. mosque part of open-house effort launched in wake of New Zealand shootings

The ‘Visit a Mosque’ campaign aims to combat Islamophobia

‘That’s a load of crap’: Dog poop conspiracy spreads in White Rock

Allegation picked up steam through a Facebook page run by a city councillor

Explosives unit brought in after suspicious boxes left at B.C. RCMP detachment

Nanaimo RCMP issues all clear after packages were found on lawn earlier in the day

Newfoundland man caught after posting photo of himself drinking and driving

The 19-year-old took a photo of himself holding a beer bottle and cigarette while at the wheel

2019 BUDGET: As deficit grows, feds spend on job retraining, home incentives

Stronger economy last year delivered unexpected revenue bump of an extra $27.8 billion over six years

Carfentanil found in 15% of overdose deaths in January: B.C. coroner

Carfentanil is 100 times more powerful than illicit fentanyl and used to tranquilize elephants

Kids found playing darts with syringes in Vancouver Island park

Saanich police is urging people to throw out their syringes properly and safely

Most Read