(From left) Glen Leidloff, VVI Construction: Katrine Conroy, MLA, Kootenay West; Edena Brown. Constituency Assistant, Kootenay West; Mayor Lawrence Chernoff, Castlegar, Becky Richardson, director, operations support, FortisBC; Blair Weston, community relations manager, FortisBC. Submitted photo

Background tour of Kootenay Operations Centre construction site in Castlegar

The FortisBC Kootenay Operations Centre in Castlegar is just four months away from completion.

The FortisBC Kootenay Operations Centre in Castlegar is just four months away from completion and on June 6, community leaders toured the site for an inside look at both buildings – the main building which houses office space, mustering rooms for crews and warehousing, and a second building which has bays for fleet vehicles and a covered area for outside storage.

Work on both buildings is progressing well and on schedule.

With the glazing and interior drywall done, local contractors are now onsite completing the electrical and mechanical systems.

FortisBC natural gas crews were also in site completing the natural gas service.

The community will see more significant changes July and August when construction of the works yard, parking areas and landscaping are completed, including the public pathway along Columbia Road.

Final clean-up will take place in September.

The project is expected to be complete by the October 2017. At that time, approximately 100 employees will relocate to the new facility. This includes staff from the South Slocan and the Castlegar District Office such as power line technicians, substation electricians, engineers, designers and other administration staff and field crews that work with transmission and distribution services.

Quick facts

The site and the new building

The new Kootenay Operations Centre will be located on a 10-acre parcel of land on 120 Oostichenia Road in Castlegar.

The site was chosen after careful consideration to determine the best location for employees to work and centralize some key operations.

It will contain office and crew space, material storage and a dedicated Emergency Operations Centre.

The new building incorporates high-efficiency design elements to lower its energy use and deliver a comfortable and healthy environment for staff. This includes:

Optimum space thermal comfort, indoor air quality and acoustics

Passive building features and technologies

External shading devices o Improved building envelope insulation for roofs and walls; R40 for the roof; and R25 for the walls

LowE gas-filled windows

LED Lighting

When complete, it will be approximately 30,000 square-feet. Approximately 23,000 square feet will make up the office space for the proposed facility, with another 7,000 square feet dedicated to warehouse space.

Approximately 100 employees will operate from the facility including power line technicians, substation electricians, engineers, designers and other administration staff and field crews that work with transmission and distribution services. Project history

FortisBC began discussing ways to address the aging buildings in 2008 and first identified the need for a new facility in a 2011 application to the BC Utilities Commission (BCUC).

FortisBC explored alternatives like upgrading the aging facilities and found that over the long-term, a new facility is more affordable than upgrades.

FortisBC filed a Certificate for Public Convenience and Necessity (CPCN) to the BCUC in July 2015 and received approval in March 2016. Anyone interested in learning more about the proceedings can find information on bcuc.com

Vic Van Isle Vic Van Isle Construction, a Revelstoke-based general contractor, won the 16-month, $12 million construction contract following a competitive tendering process that considered 15 respondents.

Construction began in June 2016 and is will be completing by October 2016. FortisBC’s electric operations

FortisBC’s electric operations have been deeply connected to the history of the Kootenays for over 100 years.

FortisBC brings power to more than 160,000 customers either directly or indirectly in both urban and remote rural areas of the southern interior of B.C.

There are approximately 500 employees dedicated to supporting electrical operations from power line technicians to customer service and community relations.

These employees maintain an electrical infrastructure that includes approximately 7,200 km of transmission and distribution power lines, four generating stations and sixty-five substations across the southern interior of B.C.

Since taking on the electricity operations in 2004, FortisBC has invested more than $1 billion to renew aging infrastructure and support growth in B.C.’s interior.

This is the first new building facility for FortisBC’s electric operations since 2002 when the Benvoulin Operations Centre was built in Kelowna.

The overall relocation project is expected to cost approximately $22.4 million including items like the land purchase and construction, migration costs and equipment purchases.

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