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Nelson Hydro project raises concerns

The major Nelson Hydro upgrade in Uphill is not being embraced by all residents in the neighourhood. - Bob Hall photo
The major Nelson Hydro upgrade in Uphill is not being embraced by all residents in the neighourhood.
— image credit: Bob Hall photo

An Uphill resident is disappointed to see Nelson Hydro installing new power poles in front of his home, having received no advance notice that project was going to take place.

Tom Murray lives on Innes Street at Josephine Street where new 25 kilovolt distribution lines are going up to replace 5 kilovolt ones that are nearing end of life. Nelson Hydro is also moving transmission cables that are currently on poles across the street to the new poles.

“This is a major infrastructure project basically right in front of my yard,” Murray told city council during the public participation period at the November 19 meeting. “The lines will run over my garden and over my kids play, and cut through my unobstructed view.”

in an interview with the Star, Nelson Hydro general manager Alex Love was quick to point out the lines are actually over city property and road right of ways.

Love said there was a notice to residents about the hydro line replacements in the City Newsletter, which is printed in the Star. He said a few people who saw the notice called or dropped in to talk about the project.

But Murray would have liked a notice delivered to his door. He said public works sent him a personal notice when tree work was happening on his street.

“To me, this power line has more lasting impact than trimming a tree,” Murray said.

After the council meeting, Love contacted Murray by email to explain the nature of the project.

Love said Hydro doesn’t issue individual notices for this type of work.

“We certainly don’t consult residents every time we change a power pole because we do lots of these every year,” Love said, noting in the past Hydro has held public open houses to get feedback on their plans, but such events are often poorly attended.

He also pointed out that residents — particularly in parts of Uphill — who experienced a prolonged power outage this summer have been demanding more reliable power. Increasing the line voltage in that area helps address those concerns.

“This is part of our ongoing work to renew our power system and make it as efficient and reliable as possible,” Love said. “If people want power in their homes, then there needs to be power lines running through the city. If they’re not right in front of your house, then they’re in front of somebody else’s.”

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