Waneta expansion project a benefit to entire region

"Nine years later, as the Waneta Project gears down, it has proven to be a great benefit for all our communities."

  • Apr. 9, 2015 6:00 p.m.

In 2004, I stood at the confluence of the Pend O’Reille and Columbia Rivers with my friend Wally Penner, who worked for Columbia Power.

We were talking about the proposed Waneta Expansion Project. We talked about many things: the challenges of a construction project along the narrow channel between the two rivers,  the land that would need to be re-zoned, the number of jobs that would be created, the money that would come into local businesses, the possible impacts to our community, and, we talked about a Legacy Park.

It was all very exciting for me; the brand new Director of Area A.  Nine years later, as the Waneta Project gears down, it has proven to be a great benefit for all our communities.

It was in the fall of 2010, that the partnership between Columbia Power, Columbia Basin Trust and Fortis allowed the 900 million dollar project to move forward in the spring of 2011 after years of planning.  With over $300 million dollars spent on local goods, services, 450 jobs, over 50 apprentices, 10 kilometres of transmission line, over 80,000 tandem trucks of dirt and rock moved, 85,000 cubic metres of concrete, 11,500 concrete trucks, and 37 *Community Impact Management Committee meetings later: the lights are now on!

The owners and the contractors have individually or jointly contributed to over 50 community projects with a value of approximately $200,000, including in-kind and sponsorships from the contractors.

On behalf of our region, we thank you for making the project possible and for all that you have created for our communities’ benefit. The Community Impact Committee is currently working with the owners and other stakeholder groups on plans for a Legacy Park; one last gift from the owners.

I am sure I speak for many community members, in saying how grateful we are for the Waneta Expansion Project.  It has been a privilege to work with this group and to have played a small part in the project.

*The Community Impact Management Committee was formed by the Waneta Expansion Owners at the beginning of the project to act as an Advisory Group for the community to assist the Owner and Contractor to manage and address impacts to the local community.

Ali Grieve

RDKB Area A Director

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