A ceremony was recently held to kick off construction of the John Hart Generating Station Replacement project.
The $1-billion upgrade is the largest infrastructure project undertaken by BC Hydro since the 1980s and will take five years to complete.
"This is a significant project for BC Hydro and for the Campbell River
community and it will help provide reliable service to Vancouver
Island for decades to come," said Jessica McDonald, president and CEO, BC Hydro.
The John Hart facility has been generating power since 1947.
The upgrade will include construction of a replacement water intake at the John Hart spillway dam, replacement of three 1.8-kilometre long penstocks with a 2.1-kilometre long tunnel, and construction of a new generating station and water bypass facility.
The new generating station will be underground and further up the site - not directly beside the river.
Construction will peak at about 360 jobs in 2016.
Preparatory work started in the spring of 2013 and included road, parking lot and trail realignment and investigative drilling.
This month, construction crews are beginning to remove trees and excavate the site to get it ready for tunnelling in the fall for new underground penstocks that will lead to a new generating station.