There is a BC Hydro blackout scheduled for downtown Courtenay, beginning at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 25, with the power scheduled to be restored by 5:30 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 26.
The outage will affect 120 metres in the following areas: 208 – 478 5th St; 231 – 495 6th St; 505 – 535 Cliffe Ave; 505 – 580 Duncan Ave; 545 – 585 England Ave; 211 – 270 Simms St.
“We do try to pick a time for the outage to minimize the impact, and also keeping into consideration the crew’s safety,” said Karla Louwers of BC Hydro. “This is an outage that can be done at night, and crews have scheduled it to minimize the impact, but we can’t always eliminate the impact.”
Louwers said the purpose of the outage is to replace cutouts and cross-arms in the downtown core.
“The cutouts are at an age where the freeze-thaw could cause them to fail,” she said. “That can cause unexpected outages. This work was scheduled due to an assessment of equipment in the area. It was determined that this equipment was at a higher risk to fail.”
The downtown restaurants and other food providers will be the hardest hit, as the outage could force the disposal of all perishable food items, as per Island Health regulations.
BC Hydro manager of community relations, Ted Olynyk, said while he empathizes with the affected companies and residents who will be affected by the outage, there will be no compensation offered for any loss of inventory.
“It’s not something we provide,” he said. “We advise customers that we cannot guarantee that there won’t be outages when we have to perform maintenance on our system. We try to find a time where we lessen the impact as much as we can, but some work unfortunately does take extended periods to complete the job. We do try to work as quickly as we can, but we also advise customers that if a continuous supply of power is critical, they should consider back-up [i.e. a generator].
“Nobody is ever happy with an outage — nobody wants to have a power outage. But at least with this, we try to give customers as much warning as possible.
“When we have crews attacking the downtown core like that, you know it’s a critical upgrade.”
Olynyk added extra out-of-town crews have been booked for the job, to expedite the process.