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Moving more than dirt

by Nicole Bogdanovic
July 28, 2016

Aboriginal, Electricity operations, Projects


Things get very real, very fast, once you start moving dirt. 

What started as an idea over eight years ago is officially under construction in Castlegar—the new Kootenay Operations Centre. And what better way to celebrate than bringing out the shovels and donning gloves and hard hats with local community leaders? 

For those of us at FortisBC, the July ground breaking event quickly became much more than an opportunity to meet the community and get to know our new neighbourhood. We were touched by the warm welcomes we received and struck by the beauty of the area.

Perhaps one of the most thought-provoking welcomes we received was from Chief Keith Crow of the Lower Similkameen Indian Band who spoke on behalf of Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, chairman and spokesperson of the Okanagan Nation Alliance. We heard, first hand, how much it means to members of First Nations communities to be consulted during our projects and to have it acknowledged that the site of our Kootenay Operations Centre is part of their traditional territory.

In addition to Chief Keith Crow, many other community leaders including representatives from local Aboriginal communities, and the municipal and provincial governments took the time to visit our new site and welcome us to the area. We greatly appreciated the welcoming remarks from Mayor Lawrence Chernoff of the City of Castlegar and MLA Katrine Conroy, Kootenay-West.

Hearing these warm welcomes brought a fresh perspective on the significant milestone we've reached in this project and the importance of working in close partnership with the community. We're looking forward to becoming a greater part of this community when we move into the new Kootenay Operations facility at the end of 2017.

Anyone with questions or comments about our new Kootenay Operations Centre project can contact us from our project page


Chief Keith Crow, Lower Similkameen Indian Band
Jamie Hampton, project manager, VVI Construction
Rick Smith, Area J director, Regional District of Central Kootenay
Mayor Lawrence Chernoff, City of Castlegar
MLA Katrine Conroy, Kootenay-West
Dennis Swanson, vice president of energy supply, FortisBC
Daniel Joe, councillor, Splatsin First Nation
Jared Basil, councillor, Lower Kootenay Band