BC Hydro and the Vancouver School Board are revisiting the idea of building a new underground substation at the Lord Roberts Annex property in the West End and will begin consultation with the community in the coming weeks.  B.C. HYDRO / PNG 

Published on: April 12, 2018 | Last Updated: April 12, 2018 7:33 PM PDT

B.C. Hydro and the Vancouver school board are revisiting a plan to construct an underground substation under Lord Roberts Annex in the West End.

B.C. Hydro says the electricity system in downtown Vancouver is aging and a new substation in the West End is required to “ensure that residents continue to receive reliable power.”

Last March, B.C. Hydro pulled back on plans to build two new substations under Emery Park in Yaletown and Nelson Park next to Lord Roberts Annex after the city said the process was too rushed.


Since then, the utility, which will need to acquire the rights to build the substation from the school board, says it has explored all available options for a new substation in the West End, which they say would take up almost half a city block if it were built above ground.

“With land in downtown Vancouver being scarce and expensive, we believe that an underground substation is the best option to meet the long-term electricity needs of the West End community,” said B.C. Hydro CEO Chris O’Riley. “By going underground, we would eliminate the need to purchase expensive, private property and potentially take away housing stock from the area, while also providing significant funding to the downtown Vancouver school community.”

B.C. Hydro and the school board will begin consultation with the West End community on the proposed plan in May. The school board hopes to make a decision on the proposal at a board meeting in June.

“The West End needs additional school spaces for the growing community of families there, so we are interested in exploring this proposal to see if it could provide a worthwhile and safe solution,” said school board chair Janet Fraser. “We look forward to hearing the input from our stakeholders and parents about this proposal to help us make a decision that could meet the needs of the school district while meeting the needs of B.C. Hydro.”