Burrard Thermal land can now be sold or leased and new businesses can start up there but it may be awhile before we know the future of the Port Moody property.
This week the provincial government removed the natural-gas fired power plant from its list of heritage assets in a change to the Clean Energy Act, freeing up BC Hydro to look at other options for the 78-hectare property.
Burrard Thermal was shut down in 2016 but it is currently used to provide voltage support services to the Lower Mainland region and will be used for that purpose at least until 2025.
“Removing the heritage asset designation of the facility is an important first step toward determining future uses for the site,” a BC Hydro spokesperson confirmed in an email to the Tri-City News.
As well, the Crown corporation must conduct an environmental review of the site and consult with municipal and local indigenous governments before making any determination on uses for the property.
“At this time, we have not decided what we will do with the site and we’re open to exploring opportunities,” spokesperson Kevin Aquino stated in an email to The Tri-City News.
However, Port Moody MLA Rick Glumac said he suspects clean tech and innovative energy companies would be interested in setting up shop on the property, given its proximity to water, a port and B.C’s power grid.
“The lands could be used for other purposes than just thermal power generation, it opens up a whole lot of options,” Glumac told The Tri-City News. “The site is very unique — to have access to an industrial site that has access to an electricity grid, and access to port land would be something a lot of these clean tech companies are looking for.”
He does’t think the property would be sold but rather leased, and he would fight to retain the lands in government hands, he said, recalling how the NDP government scrapped a proposal to redevelop a portion of Eagle Ridge Hospital land to fund an expansion, providing $22.6 million towards the project instead.
Among the businesses he thinks would be interested in relocating to the property would be energy companies developing efficient, carbon-free ways of creating or storing energy.
“B.C. itself is well known for this, a quarter of clean tech companies are located in B.C.”
He acknowledged that the de-listing of the power plant comes at a time when the province is looking to re-build the economy through the COVID-19 pandemic and this is one aspect of the re-start.
BC Hydro also readily acknowledges the importance of the property to the economy.