B.C. Hydro is in ‘no rush’ to buy Jordan River homes

Issue centres around residents’ safety living near Diversion Dam

B.C. Hydro’s buyout of nearly a dozen Jordan River residents continues as the area’s future remains uncertain.

The issue escalated two years ago when B.C. Hydro threatened to expropriate the residents on grounds that their lives were in danger if an earthquake hit in the middle of the night, which could potentially crack Diversion Dam above and quickly flood the area.

Early in 2015, B.C. Hydro reassessed the dam for its seismic capability and withdrew the expropriation, offering residents the choice to sell their home at a fair market price or stay.

So far, Hydro has bought eight properties and settled with seven out of 10 owners (one owner had two properties), said Ted Olynyk, B.C. Hydro communications manager for Vancouver Island.

He said with what is being offered to the residents as far as selling their property hasn’t changed. Nor is anyone in hurry to buy or sell.

“There’s no rush, we’re working with them, and we’re not expropriating,” Olynyk said, adding that B.C. Hydro will buy the properties at market value.

But residents still remain concerned over what their land will become in the future, said Marika Nagasaka, president of OPSRRA, a non-profit society that helps bring issues and concerns of its amalgamated residents (from Otter Point, Shirley and Jordan River) to the tables of local government.

Nagasaka hopes that raising questions will help open the lines of communication between Hydro and with residents in the Juan de Fuca Electoral Area.

“Our wish is that there’s some kind of conversation happening, so that people aren’t feeling fearful or left out,” she said, adding that one of the biggest frustrations for residents is that there’s no clear idea at this point of what’s going to happen with the Jordan River land, once it is all bought by B.C. Hydro.

What exactly will happen with property is not determined at this point, though Olynyk explained that B.C. Hydro will maintain and manage the area in the future.

He added that the logging sort will not be affected, since it isn’t a long-term overnight property, B.C. Hydro’s initial driver and concern of its acquisition.

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