Work to install a high-speed fibre-optic line up the Slocan Valley is proceeding as planned, say officials.
“Despite the challenges and complexity presented by wildfires, resource availability and COVID-19, the Trust is pleased with the progress to date,” Columbia Basin Trust spokesperson Delphi Hoodicoff told the Valley Voice. “Installation of cable on the Rails to Trails section is proceeding on track, and we’re looking forward to getting started on the next sections of this project.”
Cable has been placed from Playmor Junction to Winlaw, about 25 kilometres or half the trail length, which runs from Playmor to the village of Slocan. Work installing both cable and conduit (the tube that the cable rests in) is continuing north between Winlaw and Slocan over the coming weeks. Crews will continue ploughing and drilling operations to facilitate conduit placement along the trail, followed by fibre placement within the conduit.
After completing their fall work, crews will begin placement of signage and any trail cleanup related to the project.
Meanwhile, the long effort to secure permits and licences for the northern half of the project has been completed. Project officials had chafed at the slow pace of settling the permits, which took more than a year longer than expected.
Another major leg of the line will start this fall (weather and COVID, etc. permitting), when the crews are scheduled to begin submarine cable-laying operations in October. Aerial cable installation from Slocan Lake to Nakusp is scheduled to start in late September and continue into the fall.
Work on the $7 million project, which will see the high-speed line connect the entire 120-km route from Nakusp to Playmor, is still scheduled to be completed in March 2023.
John Boivin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Valley Voice