BC Hydro has announced it is moving forward with plans for major seismic upgrades at the John Hart dam in Campbell River, with an application submitted to the BC Utilities Commission for approval.

The key components of the John Hart Dam Seismic Upgrade project are new upstream and downstream berms, spillway gate and hoist replacement, a new overflow spillway, and an additional water seepage barrier in the middle earth-fill dam.

The project has been estimated at between $497 million and $822 million, with the estimate to refined as the project progresses. BC Hydro has initiated the first stage in the procurement process with a request for proposals for the civil contract.

“The John Hart dam is a key component of BC Hydro’s infrastructure on Vancouver Island,” commented Chris O’Riley, President and CEO, BC Hydro. “The upgrades are required to strengthen the dam so that it can continue to operate safely and reliably.”

The proposed John Hart Dam Seismic Upgrade project follows the last significant upgrade to the John Hart system, which was the completion of the John Hart Generating Station Replacement project. This project consisted of the construction of a new generating station over a five-year period.

Construction is expected to begin in 2023 and the upgrades are expected to be complete in 2029. BC Hydro began consultation with local stakeholders about the potential project back in 2014 and is continuing consultation with the We Wai Kai, Wei Wai Kum and K’omoks First Nations.

John Hart Dam. Image courtesy BC Hydro