FortisBC is going ahead with plans to build a Kootenay Operations Centre in Ootischenia. The company will be submitting an application for a certificate of public convenience and necessity (CPCN) to the British Columbia Utilities Commission (BCUC). If the application is approved construction is scheduled to begin next spring.
The new Kootenay Operation Centre will have 23,000 sq. ft. of office space, 7000 sq. ft. of warehouse space and be located at 120 Ootischenia Road on land the company purchased from the city of Castlegar in 2014. It will house operations for the Electricity branch of of FortisBC.
FortisBC spokesman David Wylie explained the choice of location: “That location really is central for us. It will help us to better serve our customers in the region and to continue to meet the operational requirements for the region.”
Wylie continued, “This is a long term solution for FortisBC for replacing aging facilities and ones that are reaching the end of their useful life in the Kootenays.”
One of those facilities is the South Slocan Operations Centre,“It is over a hundred years old. It has reached the end of its life as a comfortable and safe workplace for our employees, which is why we are looking at building something that is more energy efficient and would better serve our needs in the area.”
Upon completion of the new project, the South Slocan Operations Centre will close and the employees will be relocated to the new location. However, the current Castlegar Operations Centre will not be affected.
The new facility will have about 75 employees, consisting primarily of generation and operation staff, those that support and maintain the dams, power houses and substations. There will also be a fleet of trucks stationed at the site and warehouse operations.
According to Wylie, FortisBC has completed a traffic impact study to ensure there is no negative impact the flow of traffic in the area.
The BCUC application process is a public process and residents can register to participate in the process and provide feedback to the commission once the application has been submitted. “We have been working with residents who are surrounding the site, we have sent them letters to let them know what is going on there and trying to keep them informed as to what is happening. Certainly they can choose to be a part of the application process as well if they have questions or feedback.” stated Wylie.
More information on the project can be found at FortisBC.comkootenayops and you can also submit feedback on the project.