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BC Hydro project helps fund park improvements

BC Hydro project helps fund park improvements
CITY OF VANCOUVER—Vancouver’s Nelson Park will receive improvements thanks to a funding agreement with BC Hydro.

VANCOUVER—The Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation will receive $8 million in return for approving BC Hydro’s request for property rights in portions of Nelson Park as the West End Substation Project moves forward.

Earlier this year, the park board approved BC Hydro’s request for rights-of-way through a section of Nelson Park to allow for construction of underground distribution and transmission lines. Additionally, BC Hydro requested driveway access to provide shared entry to the future school and underground substation at the Lord Roberts Annex property.

“Knowing the substation project at the Lord Roberts Annex property adjacent to Nelson Park was moving ahead meant shifting from our more familiar role as those who build and maintain parks and public amenities, to ensuring the least amount of disruption possible to the park,” said Donnie Rosa, general manager of the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation, in a release. “Another aspect of our role in this was to ensure reasonable compensation from BC Hydro on behalf of the park users who will be impacted by this project.”

Some of the funds will go towards the West End’s Nelson Park. The city stated the park provides critical access to nature for West End residents and is a space used for health, wellness and leisure. There are currently 20,000 residents living within a 10-minute walk of Nelson Park and the population of the West End is expected to grow by 30,000 over the next 30 years.

“We’re committed to delivering safe and reliable power to our customers in downtown Vancouver,” said Chris O’Riley, president and CEO of BC Hydro. “The rights of way access in Nelson Park is an important component for a new underground substation in the West End that will serve the downtown core for generations to come.”

BC Hydro officials believe construction for the underground substation, adjacent to Nelson Park, could begin as early as 2024, with estimated project completion in 2029. The underground powerline construction in Nelson Park will happen over one to two winter months sometime during this construction window, when park traffic is low and the West End Farmers Market is not being held. 

Additional updates and timelines will be provided by BC Hydro and the Vancouver School Board as the West End Substation Project continues. 

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