CAMPBELL RIVER, B.C. – Residents walking along Elk Falls and the Campbell River system will hear a different sound later this week.
BC Hydro is testing out a new public warning siren system for the John Hart hydroelectric facility.
Utilities spokesperson Stephen Watson said they’re replacing the older 360-degree air raid siren sound with a “whooping sound” that is more directional, with the sirens facing upstream or downstream of the canyon or river.
“We’re going to a new system that’s more reliable and a little more directional. It’s identical to the same siren system we put in place in the Puntledge River a few years ago,” Watson said.
“We’re actually ready to test the first two sets of sirens, one by the John Hart Dam this week, Wednesday to Friday, and then another one by Elk Falls next week.”
He said the goal is to provide some awareness for residents, because hikers in the area will hear a new sound, different from the previous warning system.
“These tests will happen and then we’ll be doing some tests to a new siren upgrade at the powerhouse and downstream of Second Island along the Campbell River. We’re hoping by the end of this year, the new system will be (fully) in place,” he said.
Watson said there are no specific times when they will be conducting the tests, but residents should be aware of the new sounds they will hear.
“It will be sporadic, so for people that go up to Elk Falls, and walk around the trails up top there, they will hear it,” he noted.
Watson added that BC Hydro might also install some informational boards to explain the new siren warning system for people walking along the trails.
While the tests are being done, the old system will remain in place to warn people of sudden water flow changes.
The work is part of the final components of the John Hart Generating Station Replacement Project.
The following video clip, provided by Stephen Watson, showcases the siren sound emitted along the water.