In celebration of the centenary of the generator and wooden piping at the Silversmith Power & Light Generating Station at Sandon, an open house was held in the town on Oct. 8.
Pouring rain wasn’t enough to stop many people from touring the station, which has been running non-stop since 1897.
Hal Wright, the station’s manager, gave a tour of the station and turned on the back up generator, a Blackstone Stationary Engine, giving visitors a chance to see what would have been used in the event of a power outage before the station was tied to the grid in 2001.
The Blackstone dates back to 1951.
“This is a British marine design, for generating energy on big ships,” said Wright. “This is what you would have found down in the engine rooms in the late 40s, 50s, and early 60s.”
Once it was started, you could feel the ground move beneath your feet.
While many visitors came up to Sandon for the open house, most were either tourists or people visiting the area, a fact Wright found disappointing.
“It would be nice to see more local people coming and checking this out,” he said. “One thing a lot of people don’t realize is that our generation is 100 per cent green certified. This is the only utility probably in North America that provides 100 per cent green electricity.”
He said it would be nice to see more people aware of Sandon’s history and the fact that the power station is a green operation in a region that likes to support green initiatives.
Those who were able to make it to the ghost town were very interested in the power station and its history.
“I like the story of how they’re generating power that has a lower carbon footprint,” said Randy Colwell. “That’s kind of a cool thing, especially how it’s old school and new school at the same time.”
Though most of the visitors to Sandon were from away, there were some locals in attendance who know about and appreciated Sandon and its history.
“We are very fortunate and lucky to be living in an area that can be powered by such green energy, and historic green energy at that,” said Kevin Gil, a longtime resident of the Slocan Valley. “It should be preserved to the best of our ability, and any way we can.”
“It’s kind of a special thing, and we’re doing this in the hope and the expectation that it will break all the records and continue into the next centuries, and there’s no reason why it shouldn’t.”