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Hydro outlines plan for new station

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Manitoba Hydro is planning a new power station for St. James.

On Wednesday, Dec. 5, Hydro released its plans for the station, slated for 555 Madison St., at an open house at Canad Inns Polo Park.

The station, which will replace the aging St. James power station at St. James Street and Portage Avenue, is needed to meet future power demands for the area, which will see the redevelopment of Canad Inns Stadium and has already seen a burgeoning hotel and retail boom.

"It’s a prosperous area and we need to take into account load growth," said Hydro project manager Aldo Buscemi.

The new station will contain three banks, each containing a 115-24kV power transformer, expected to allow for a 35% increase in load capacity for St. James, according to Buscemi.

A request for proposals on the station’s design and construction has yet to be tendered, though Hydro anticipates work to begin summer 2013 and finish winter 2015.

The station will be similar in design to that being built on Burrows Avenue in the North End.

Most of the transmission lines will be installed underground between the two stations, and run parallel to existing lines that will be terminated once construction is complete.

Some construction is expected to affect businesses and homes along Madison Street, and St. Matthews and Ness avenues. Those affected will be advised, Buscemi said.

Once complete, the station will be remotely controlled and will serve the Polo Park area west to Sturgeon Road.

The cost of the project is estimated around $70 million.

Buscemi said he doesn’t anticipate traffic improvements slated for the Polo Park area, also scheduled to begin next summer, to impede the project.

Built in 1920s, the current St. James station was built to power the city’s streetcar system. It took on neighbourhood electricity loads in the 1940s and was further expanded in the 1970s.

From October 2011 to October 2012, the area has experienced 28 power outages, according to officials.

matt.preprost@canstarnews.com

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