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Ah-Sin-Heek hydro generating station slated for upgrades

‘Ah-Sin-Heek generating station, sub-station equipment has reached end of service life’: BC Hydro
Clayton Falls as seen on June 23, 2023. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)

The Ah-Sin-Heek generating station in Bella Coola is scheduled for some upgrading in the near future.

“We are in the early phase of upgrading the Ah-Sin-Heek generating station, sub-station equipment which has reached end of service life,” said Dave Mosure, public affairs coordinator northern region, BC Hydro. “The Ah-Sin-Heek cogenerates with the Clayton Falls generating station to provide energy to Bella Coola customers.”

A civil construction team plans to be on site in August laying the groundwork for the new sub-station equipment, he added, noting main work is intended to be completed by the end of 2024.

Interested in the history of the generating stations in Bella Coola, Coast Mountain News delved into its archives which include copies of The Valley Echo, an early pedecessor.

In the January 1, 1961 edition there was an article about the Clayton Falls project officially placed in operation on Dec. 10, 1961, coming ahead of schedule and under the estimated cost of $500,000.

“Albert Pootlass, the oldest member of the family of hereditary chiefs of the Bella Coola Indian Band, participated in the commissioning ceremonies. He bestowed the name “Ah-Sinheek” on the generating station in a tribal rite,” the article noted. “The name means “light from the sun,” in his native language. Mr. Pootlass actually transferred the name from the 750 horsepower diesel station which he had dedicated in 1955.”

BC Hydro first commenced operations in Bella Coola in December 1955 when there were 240 customers.

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Interior of Clayton Falls Powerhouse when it officially opened on Dec. 10, 1961. (Coast Mountain News archives - Valley Echo News photo)
Chief Pootlass giving name to Clayton Falls Station on Dec. 10, 1961. (Coast Mountain News Archives - Valley Echo News photo)

Monica Lamb-Yorski

About the Author: Monica Lamb-Yorski

A B.C. gal, I was born in Alert Bay, raised in Nelson, graduated from the University of Winnipeg, and wrote my first-ever article for the Prince Rupert Daily News.
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