Over the last several months, Council and Staff have had discussions with BC Hydro regarding the increase in power outages in our community. BC Hydro had completed an assessment on the issues experienced in our community and reported to Council that the main issue identified was the vegetation growth under the power lines. Their assessment stated that approximately 240 trees needed to be addressed as they posed a risk to the power lines. This work was to be done last summer/fall.
We all know this was not done.
Over the last couple of days, staff and myself have had discussions with the BC Hydro’s Vancouver Island community relations manger, Ted Olynyk, in regards to the current and past issues.
I asked Ted what the possibilities were to have a crew stay here over the next few days until this current weather storm passes. He stated it would be very difficult for many reasons including that if there were no outages while they were here, they would be dispatched to other areas to address other outages. During severe weather storms like the one recently experienced, crews come from all over the island and the length of time they can work without a break is an issue that must be considered.
He assured us that he would discuss our concerns and get back to us. Ted called me late yesterday to set up a call with a senior Manager. I received a call from the VP of Operations, Charlette Mitha, we discussed our ongoing issues, and reasons as to why this work had not been done as previously stated.
Ms. Mitha has assured me that Ted will be in touch with staff and myself within the next couple of weeks to give us a confirmed date for when crews will be here to begin work on removing the vegetation under the power lines. This work will be done as soon as they can arrange the crews, now, not come spring.
I was very clear to Ms. Mitha that Council will hold her to this commitment.
Brad Unger, Mayor