Vancouver park board urged to reject B.C. Hydro power lines underneath Nelson Park

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      A proposed B.C. Hydro substation underneath a Vancouver elementary school will require routing power lines through Nelson Park.

      Based on illustrations by the public utility, the cables will come in from three sides of the park.

      Lines will enter from Comox, Thurlow, and Nelson streets to deliver power to and from the planned substation under Lord Roberts Elementary Annex.

      According Vancouver’s titular Queen of the Parks, Jamie Lee Hamilton, the construction of the substation will destroy the only neighbourhood park in the West End.

      Hamilton and a number of other opponents to the B.C. Hydro project are holding a rally Monday evening (July 9) at the offices of the Vancouver board of parks and recreation.

      Hamilton said that they will ask park commissioners to immediately start public consultations about the plan.

      “Ultimately we want park board to refuse the opportunity to B.C. Hydro to use any part of the park to build the substation,” Hamilton told the Straight in a phone interview.

      On June 25 this year, the Vancouver school board voted in favour of selling the subsurface parcel beneath Lord Roberts annex for the development of the substation.

      The deal is expected to provide funding to build a new Coal Harbour school, where students at the annex will be temporarily relocated.

      A new Lord Roberts annex will be built after the substation is completed sometime in 2028.

      According to a B.C. Hydro discussion guide, the proposed routing of the underground power lines will “follow existing pathways in the park as much as possible to minimize tree removal”.

      “If our proposal moves forward, we’ll work with the Vancouver Park Board to confirm the routing of our underground power lines through Nelson Park, including additional technical studies and public consultation,” the guide notes.

      Hamilton is wondering why park board did not undertake a public consultation at the time school board was going through steps in deciding whether or not to allow a substation underneath Lord Roberts annex.

      “From what I understand, you know, [park] commissioners have had this information for a whole year, and they just sat on it,” Hamilton said.

      The park and school boards are chaired by Green politicians.

      Green school board chair Janet Fraser and Green trustee Estrellita Gonzales on June 25 voted to approve the B.C. Hydro project. 

      Hamilton is running for park board with the Independent Democratic Electors Alliance, or IDEA Vancouver, in this year's October 20 civic election.

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