Commission recap, 4/11/2023 — Grant PUD recreation-area visitor survey to launch in May

Proposed relocation of kayak launch site.

 Grant PUD recreation-area visitor survey to launch in May

Grant PUD employees will fan out this summer to gather feedback, face-to-face, from the true experts in the utility's 19 Columbia River recreation areas — the 500,000 visitors who camp, fish, picnic, swim, golf or otherwise enjoy them.

Manager of License Compliance and Lands Services Shannon Lowry told commissioners the survey team hoped to collect 600 to 800 total responses from recreation-area visitors during the 2023 season. Her recreation team will study the responses for useful data on how to improve our visitors' experience.

"The survey is very important," Lowry said. "We try to get a cross-section of visitors at all our rec sites. We'll spend a lot of time out there talking to people."

The survey happens every three years. This will be the first full summer season in-person survey since before the COVID pandemic and an important survey year at Crescent Bar, since amenities there were still under construction when the last round of surveys was taken.

Grant PUD survey takers will be wearing official name badges for identification. Lowry encourages all recreation-site visitors approached by Grant PUD survey takers to invest 15 minutes of their day to speak with them and offer feedback that could make their future visits even more enjoyable.

In other recreation news:

  • A Grant PUD contractor completed dredging of the Priest Rapids Recreation Area boat launch, removing 1,250 cubic-yards — approximately 125 dump-truck loads — of sediment to deepen the boat basin. The project also included installing rip-rap to protect the shoreline and angular rock at the toe of the boat ramp to prevent propeller wash and scour.
  • Plans are underway to repair tree-root and other damage along the pedestrian trails at Crescent Bar.
  • A plan is in the works to provide an alternative kayak loading and unloading zone adjacent to the Crescent Bar Riverbend (on-island) boat launch parking lot. The dedicated unloading area and modified fence will make it easier to transport kayaks to and from visitors' vehicles to the island's quiet back channel for simpler boarding and launching. The project follows recreation visitors' request for a better launch site.

Hear the full discussion at 34:40:00 on the commission audio. View the presentation on pages 1-14 of the presentation materials.

Commissioners also:

Heard from Senior Manager of Grant Fiber Terry Mckenzie about plans already underway to create a new department focused on Grant PUD's total fiber-optic network — the part used internally by Grant PUD and the wholesale fiber network that service providers use to sell fast internet services to the general public.

The change will result in improving an already highly reliable network via a central plan for routine maintenance and construction work, carried out by a team focused wholly on Grant PUD fiber.
Fiber network expansion continues this year, with plans to complete areas 25 through 32 on the buildout schedule. These areas include Warden; north, south and east of Quincy; Road A SE/Smyrna; Jerico; Dodson to Frenchman; Wahluke area east to Mattawa and Desert Aire to Road O. For more detail, visit www.grantpud/getfiber and scroll down to "Fiber Availability and Expansion." Hear the full discussion at 1:16:35 on the commission audio. View the presentation on pages 15-31 of the presentation materials.

Heard from officials from Sila (pronounced SEE-lah) Nanotechnologies, a company that makes an anode material that expands the energy capacity of the batteries that power electric vehicles for faster charge times and longer range. The San Francisco Bay Area-based company has purchased 160 acres with a building in Moses Lake to build a manufacturing plant. It plans to begin operation in 2025, with potential plant expansion in 2027. The company is working with Grant PUD's Large Power Solutions team to plan its electricity needs. The initial phase would employ 200 people, the officials said; an expanded plant, more than 800 people. Hear the full discussion at 2:00:50on the commission audio. View the presentation on pages 32-53 of the presentation materials.

Approved a change order of $385,135.18 to a contract with GE Steam (which acquired the original contractor Alstom Power) for work on the generator rehabilitation project at Priest Rapids Dam. The change order cost is to cover expenses associated with an 85-day delay in the project while a vibration in wicket gates for Unit 4 was addressed before it was put back into service and work began on Unit No. 5. Hear the discussion at 2:49:58 on the commission audio and see more on Page 8 of the commission packet.

Reviewed changes to the Telecommunications Customer Service Policies and Fee Schedule. See more on Page 24 of the commission packet.

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