62 power poles in Yaletown are being permanently removed

Mar 6 2023, 5:08 pm

The streetscape of the Yaletown retail district in downtown Vancouver is set to look a bit more open with far less visual aerial clutter.

Starting today, contractors for BC Hydro are working on dismantling the vast majority of the poles that support overhead electrical lines within Yaletown. The work will be conducted over the first three Mondays of March 2023.

Apart from a handful of poles that will remain, nearly all of the poles along Hamilton Street and Mainland Street — above the district’s restaurant row — will be removed, as well as a few select poles on Helmcken Street and Nelson Street. Overall, a total of 62 poles within an area of five blocks will be removed.

The poles along the south side of Homer Street will remain for telecommunications uses, but there will still be extensive work on this street to remove BC Hydro’s electrical equipment.

Last week, BC Hydro spokesperson Kyle Donaldson told Daily Hive Urbanized this project is part of the electric utility’s work to modernize its infrastructure downtown to ensure the power supply continues to be safe and reliable.

A replacement electrical distribution system for Yaletown was built underground in 2021, and this week’s work represents the final phase of the project.

bc hydro pole removal yaletown march 2023

Map of the BC Hydro poles that will be removed in March 2023. (BC Hydro)

Residents, businesses, and customers in the area should expect major disruptions while the work is being carried out.

There will be a full closure of the street to all vehicle traffic during work on Hamilton Street and Mainland Street, and traffic on Homer Street will be reduced to a single alternating lane. As well, no vehicle parking will be permitted on the street being worked on for the day.

Pedestrians can expect delays of about 10 minutes to access/leave buildings, otherwise, sidewalks will be closed while work is underway.

Crews are scheduled to work along Hamilton Street between Nelson and Drake streets on Monday, March 6; along Mainland Street between Nelson and Davie streets on Monday, March 13; and then along Homer Street between Nelson Street and Drake Street on Monday, March 20. The streets will be reopened to regular traffic at the end of the work day.

“We will make every effort to minimize disruptions to businesses and residents in order to complete the project as quickly and safely as possible,” said Donaldson.

“We have been working with the City of Vancouver and the Yaletown Business Improvement Association throughout the planning process for this upcoming work. And we thank everyone for their cooperation and patience as we move forward with the final stage of this project in Yaletown.”

bc hydro pole hamilton street yaletown

BC Hydro poles supporting overhead power lines on Hamilton Street in Yaletown in downtown Vancouver. (Google Maps)

Anette O’Shea, the executive director of the Yaletown Business Improvement Association, says the removal of most of the poles and wires in the retail district is a welcome change.

“We’re happy to have the poles removed as they are major targets of graffiti. Their removal will also create a little more walking space and accessibility on our narrow heritage sidewalks; this is nice, especially for window shopping,” O’Shea told Daily Hive Urbanized.

“And of course, having a power supply that is mainly underground means no more power outages due to helium balloons and tree branches.”

BC Hydro is also conducting similar work in Chinatown and Gastown, where aerial electrical distribution networks are also being relocated underground in select areas. There are still a few blocks left in Chinatown for similar pole removal work, which will likely occur over the next few months, while there are no plans to remove the poles in Gastown in the near future.

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