As part of its hydro distribution upgrade program, Nelson Hydro and the City of Nelson are holding an important information session next week.
The session, which will be held Wednesday, July 10 starting at 7 p.m. at the Hume Hotel’s Hume Room, will give downtown business owners, employees and residents a chance to hear more about plans to upgrade the overhead hydro distribution system in the back lanes on either side of Baker Street.
Crews are slated to begin work on the aging overhead system this month.
Nelson Hydro staff and representatives from the West Kootenay company hired to do the work will be on hand Wednesday to explain why the project is necessary, its benefits, and ways in which downtown business owners and residents should prepare for the project’s impacts.
Those impacts include occasionally scheduled power outages and revised vehicle and pedestrian traffic.
This project, the last of the four-phase Downtown Conversion program, will include the replacement of aging wooden hydro poles with new hydro poles in Baker Street’s back lanes, new overhead secondary lines, underground primary lines, new transformers and an increased voltage capacity of 25kV from 4 kV.
There will be considerable benefit to the new system, including:
• Improved reliability, quality and capacity of the downtown electrical system for existing and future customers.
• Fewer poles in the alleyways, making for easier vehicle and pedestrian traffic flow, parking and delivery.
• Improved lighting and aesthetics, with less visual clutter thanks to the reduction of poles and overhead transformer banks.
There will be a cultural and heritage aspect to the project as well. As local residents and visitors have noticed, new transformer islands already installed around town are adorned with the history of Nelson Hydro and the City’s numerous “ghost buildings.”
The Downtown Conversion project is another step in Nelson Hydro’s commitment to the City’s Long Term Hydro Transmission and Distribution Upgrade Plan.
Most of the utility’s transmission line upgrades have been completed and the voltage conversion projects including Front Street, Downtown, Uphill and Rosemont are either completed or slated for completion, in the fall of this year.
The Downtown Conversion construction contract has been awarded to Castlegar’s Martech Electrical Systems.