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B.C. history

Flashback: Power plant allowed deferral of underwater transmission line Add to ...


15 YEARS AGO… (Oct. 16-22, 1996)

Province approves plan for Vancouver Island power plant

Two private firms received provincial approval to build a $200-million power plant on Vancouver Island this week, a project that will save BC Hydro “tens of millions of dollars” by deferring the need for a new underwater transmission line from the mainland, Premier Glen Clark said.

A joint venture between Westcoast Power Inc. and Fletcher Challenge Energy Inc., the gas-fired co-generation plant will be built next to Elk Falls pulp and paper mill near Campbell River and produce about 240 megawatts of electricity, Mr. Clark said.

The facility will also include gas turbine generators to provide low-cost steam to the mill, which now relies on steam supplied by hog-fuelled power boilers.

During the expected two-year construction phase, the plant will create about 250 temporary construction jobs and 25 permanent positions when it opens in 1999.

Campbell River Mayor Jim Lornie said the power plant will provide a boost to the region’s struggling economy, which is suffering the ill effects of a downturn in both the fisheries and forest industry.

Flash forward: Dubbed Island Cogen, the power plant began operation in 2002 and was purchased by Edmonton-based Capital Power in July, 2010, for $207-million.

25 YEARS AGO… (Oct. 16-22, 1986)

Skelly suffers nervous attack on campaign trail

B.C. NDP Leader Bob Skelly had to cut short a news conference in Kamloops Thursday when he suffered a panic attack while reading a prepared statement on lumber tariffs, the third such incident since the provincial election campaign began Sept. 24.

Mr. Skelly stopped abruptly in mid-speech and told reporters “sorry, end of conference.” A few moments later, he regained his composure and answered questions on the recent U.S. decision to slap countervailing duties on imported Canadian lumber.

Afterwards, Mr. Skelly told reporters he suffered a case of “the shakes” similar to a bout of nervousness that overcame him on the first day of the campaign.

He returned to form on Friday night in Vancouver, delivering a polished speech and poking fun at himself and his opponents.

When an audience shouted “you’re making me nervous,” Mr. Skelly replied: “Who’s giving this speech anyway?” He also directed barbs at Premier Bill Vander Zalm, who was embarrassed earlier in the week by news that his mother-in-law in Penticton plans to vote NDP.

Flash forward: Mr. Skelly suffered a crushing election defeat at the hands of Mr. Vander Zalm and stepped down as NDP leader three weeks later.

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