You are hereRepairs to damaged run-of-river project expected to take months, cost $10 million

Repairs to damaged run-of-river project expected to take months, cost $10 million


Larry Pynn, Vancouver Sun March 20, 2013

Slide at Montrose Creek wipes out 300 metres of piping

One of B.C.’s largest private run-of-river power projects will continue to operate at significantly reduced capacity for months due to a major winter slide that wiped out 300 metres of piping.

Don McInnes, executive vice-president of Alterra Power Corp., said in an interview Wednesday that the slide of an estimated 50,000 cubic metres at Montrose Creek on the B.C. south coast may not be repaired until fall at an estimated cost of up to $10 million.

Montrose Creek, part of a larger hydro project at Toba Inlet, contributes about 300 gigawatts of electrical power — enough to power 30,000 homes — or about 40 per cent of the operation’s annual output, which generates annual revenues of $70 to $75 million, McInnes said.

Asked if Montrose Creek was a poor location for a hydro project, McInnes said: “There are risks of road building in the Toba Valley, risks of putting in power lines — you assess all these things.

“Building anything in coastal B.C., the issue of avalanche from snow or rock slides is a risk. You think about those things and you plan your project and design to minimize exposure to those risks.

“To the best of my knowledge, no one suggested this would be a really dumb idea.”

McInnes said there are no fish in Montrose Creek and the slide did not enter the creek itself.

The damaged three-metre-diameter pipe was part of a five-kilometre system that diverted water from the intake to the power plant. No one was injured in the Dec. 12 slide, against which the hydro facility was insured.

To protect against further damage, the company plans to bury the new pipe deeper and create a berm from the excavated material. He said he is unaware of a similar slide damaging any other run-of-river project in B.C.

The Toba-Montrose operation was linked to tragedy in 2008 during the construction phase when a chartered Pacific Coastal Airlines plane en route to Toba Inlet crashed on South Thormanby Island killing the pilot and six passengers.

lpynn@vancouversun.com

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