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Power generator, Canada

Protecting salmon while generating power

A design-build-finance-maintain project will upgrade a power station on Vancouver Island to power 80,000 homes.


Built in 1947, the John Hart Generating Station is located in Elk Falls Provincial Park on Vancouver Island in British Columbia. About 95% of the Campbell River, a popular destination for recreational fishermen, passes through the aging infrastructure of the hydropower plant. The area has been dubbed the “Salmon Capital of the World.”

The station’s generating units are in poor condition, and their capacity has declined over time. The original woodstave surface penstocks are seismically vulnerable and are considered unlikely to withstand a low to moderate earthquake. An interruption in the flow of water could be devastating for the salmon population and the clean, reliable power supply to Vancouver Island.


As part of a design-build-finance-maintain project, Mott MacDonald was retained as the lender’s technical advisor to provide due-diligence review of the bid and design process, construction monitoring, and commissioning. We also provided specialist review services for the design-build works, and continue to undertake regular site inspections to monitor progress.


A new underground generating station, almost invisible to park visitors, will improve access to trails and the river and will be completed by 2019.

New tunnels and a new powerhouse will ensure more reliable water flows and clean power generation, improve public safety, reduce the environmental footprint, and safeguard the salmon habitat downstream of the project.

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