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Trail Labour and employment

West Kootenay Power and Light Company

  • Corporate body
  • 1896-2002

The West Kootenay Power and Light Company incorporated in 1896, with the construction of the dam and hydro-electric station in Lower Bonnington Falls. They created the longest high voltage line in North America at the time, which transferred power 51km from Bonnington Falls to Rossland BC to supply the mines. The company soon provided power to different sites and homes around the West Kootenays and soon around the East Kootenays and Sourthern British Columbia. The company’s biggest consumer was CM&S (currently known as Teck) which was down the hill in Trail. WKPL had many subsidiaries, such as Rossland Water and Light, South Kootenay Power and Light, Cascade Water, Power, and Light, Northport Power and Light, Sheep Creek Light and Power, and Bonnington Falls Power Co. During WWI, WKPL was bought by CM&S to ensure that it would continue to be supplied with electricity; and in 1987 CM&S – at that point renamed Cominco – sold WKPL to an American Company, Utilicorp United. In 2002 WKPL was taken over by FortisBC. Some notable employees of the company are Lorne A. “LA” Campbell, JD McDonald, and F.A. Lee.