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Project Overview

The John Hart Generating Station Replacement Project is helping to ensure the continued supply of reliable, cost-effective and clean electricity on Vancouver Island.

BC Hydro’s John Hart Generating Station Replacement Project

The John Hart Generating Station Replacement Project was initiated in 2007 and operationally completed in fall 2018, on time and on budget.

BC Hydro’s Campbell River hydroelectric system

BC continues to grow and so does the demand for electricity. As part of BC Hydro’s regeneration of its key capital assets, the successful John Hart Generating Station Replacement Project will ensure the continued supply of safe and reliable power on Vancouver Island.

The Campbell River dams and generating stations have provided safe and reliable power on Vancouver Island for 71 years. And it’s not always about power generation as these facilities have provided flood risk management, in addition to benefits for fish habitat and reservoir recreation. John Hart’s power generation was the catalyst for Campbell River’s growth and is part of its legacy.

The John Hart facility began operating at the end of 1947. There are three key reasons why BC Hydro replaced the old facility:

  • Safety. There were seismic risks to the pipelines and generating station – the old facility would not have withstood a low to moderate earthquake;
  • Reliability. To have long term power reliability at the John Hart Generating Station, as the old six unit facility was in poor condition; and
  • Environment. There was a risk to downstream fish habitat from a potential reduction in river flow – 95% of the lower Campbell River comes out of the generating station.

The project scope included:

  • Construction of a replacement water intake at the John Hart spillway dam,
  • Replacement of three 1.8-kilometre long penstocks with a 2.1-kilometre long tunnel, and
  • Construction of a new underground generating station and water bypass facility upstream of the existing station.

InPower BC is a special purpose project company in which SNC-Lavalin Group Inc. has 100 per cent interest. On behalf of BC Hydro, SNC-Lavalin designed and constructed the project, including working and coordinating with international team members on the specialised design and fabrication of components like generators and turbines.

Project construction began in summer 2014 and concluded at the end of 2018. Local jobs peaked at about 500 people at the site in June 2017. The project achieved 3.4 million person hours of work without a lost time accident. Over 100 Vancouver Island suppliers, services and subcontractor company’s worked on the project at various stages.

BC Hydro, Campbell River and District Chamber of Commerce, Vancouver Island Construction Association and Vancouver Island Economic Alliance collaborated since 2011 to be ready for the John Hart project and provide good two-way communication. This resulted in this web portal site to cover all aspects of the economic awareness and opportunities of the John Hart project. It provides the forum for businesses and suppliers to register within a database.

Looking ahead, this collaboration will continue as BC Hydro has three large proposed seismic upgrade projects to the John Hart, Ladore, and Strathcona facilities that may all begin in 2022. BC Hydro is currently going through planning and design, which will ultimately lead to regulatory and funding approvals, along with procurement. Stay tuned for updates on these projects.