The replacement facility will improve power reliability and seismic safety, and make it easier for BC Hydro to protect fish habitat in an area of the world renowned for its salmon.

After a procurement process that began in March, BC Hydro and SNC-Lavalin, who was informed of their selection last week, will now begin final discussions toward a contract signing that will likely take place in early 2014.

The John Hart project will construct a replacement water intake at the John Hart Spillway Dam, replace the three 1.8-kilometre long penstocks with a 2.1-kilometre long tunnel, construct a replacement generating station beside the existing station, and a new water bypass facility. The existing station may continue to operate during the construction phase, and then transfer operations during the commissioning period to the new facility

BC Hydro said it was "pleased with the calibre and depth of experience that the competing teams brought to the table."

Construction mobilisation is anticipated to get underway when the contract is signed. The project, scheduled to be complete by the end of 2018, will create an average of about 400 jobs per year over the five years of construction.

The British Columbia Utilities Commission approved the John Hart project as the most cost-effective alternative to address the significant seismic, reliability and fisheries issues associated with the 66-year-old generating facility.