A group of mountain bikers cross the bridge over McKay Creek on their way up Mt. Cartier.

Construction on McKay Creek IPP set to start in August

Independent power project on McKay Creek would intersect Mt. Cartier hiking and biking trail.

An independent power project on McKay Creek south of Revelstoke is close to fruition, with construction scheduled to start in August, according to documents filed with the Integrated Land Management Bureau.

The roads accessing the site, as well as the penstock for the IPP would intersect with the Mt. Cartier hiking and biking trail.

The proposal calls for a 3.81 megawatt run-of-river hydroelectric plant that would divert a maximum of 2.52 cubic-metres per second of water from the creek into a generating station. The water would be diverted at an elevation of 800 metres, 2.5-kilometres upstream of the Columbia River, and returned to the creek 1.8 kilometres downstream from the point of diversion. The power plant would be located on private land but the intake would be on crown land.

The electricity that is generated would then be tied into the BC Hydro grid.

The proponents, Robert and Vanessa Smith, have applied for tenure over about 146 hectares of Crown land for the project, though only about 10 per cent of that is expected to be disturbed by the project.

It would require construction of a four-kilometre road that would intersect with the Mt. Cartier hiking and biking trail. The road would be used for construction of the penstock, as well as maintenance during the expected 70-year lifespan of the IPP.

The Times Review has reported on the proposal in the past, but the recent filings are the most detailed we’ve seen.

The proponents did not return several calls asking for an interview on their construction plans. Bruce Granstrom, the engineer who prepared the plans, also did not return calls.

McKay Creek, also known as Eight Mile Creek, flows through the valley that divides Mount Mackenzie from Mount Cartier. It drains through a culvert beneath Airport Way and into the Columbia River.

According to the development plan, Ken Gibson from the Ministry of Tourism has given his approval to the construction, provided the trail remains open during and after construction. The application says the trail may have to be diverted from its current location.

The applicants are still seeking a water license that would allow them to divert the necessary amount of flow from the creek to the power station.

 

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