Controversial Site C dam project will be completed

Alaska Highway News

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Premier John Horgan, file photo Dan Toulgoet

B.C. Premier John Horgan says construction of BC Hydro’s now $10.7-billion Site C dam will be completed.

Horgan released his highly anticipated decision at the legislature Monday, four months after his government ordered a review of the project in August.

“Megaproject mismanagement by the old government has left B.C. in a terrible situation,” Horgan said in a statement.

“But we cannot punish British Columbians for those mistakes, and we can’t change the past. We can only make the best decision for the future.

More to come.

Original story:
B.C. Premier John Horgan will announce his government’s decision on BC Hydro’s $9-billion Site C dam on Monday.

Horgan will make his announcement in Victoria in the library rotunda of the legislature at 12:30 p.m. local time, after government staff provide a technical briefing with media there and in Vancouver.

Horgan met with both his NDP caucus and cabinet Dec. 5 and 6 to deliberate the fate of Site C, now two years into construction and which the BC Utilities Commission says is already over budget and unlikely to be complete by 2024. The commission also suggests BC Hydro has grossly overestimated its energy demand forecasts and the need for the new dam, the third on the Peace River.

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There were 1,974 workers tied to the project in October, according to BC Hydro’s latest job statistics.

Site C supporters argue the dam is needed to fight climate change, and that cancelling the project will cost thousands of workers their jobs, while leaving ratepayers and taxpayers on the hook for a $4 billion expenditure that will produce no new power.

Site C has been a lightning rod for debate since ramping up in earnest in 2010 under the previous Liberal government, and with public hearings launched in late 2013.

The BCUC was specifically excluded from reviewing the Site C dam by the Liberals, who formally approved the project in 2014. Horgan pledged to send the project to the commission for review if he won the May election, while former premier Christy Clark vowed to push the project past the point of no return.

Horgan followed through on his pledge after taking control of the legislature from Clark in the summer with the help of the BC Greens in a power-sharing agreement.

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Green leader Andrew Weaver wants the project cancelled entirely, but has said he won’t defeat the government if it decides to continue.

However, on Sunday, Weaver suggested a recall campaign against new Energy Minister Michelle Mungall was in order if the project is approved, contrasting remarks she made in 2016 in opposition to the project.

Horgan met with six energy experts on Nov. 30, and was in Prince George on Dec. 8, where he heard from Dawson Creek Mayor Dale Bumstead that Site C was integral to natural gas development in the region.

The West Moberly and Prophet River First Nations say the province faces a $1-billion treaty infringement lawsuit if it continues to build Site C.
editor@ahnfsj.ca

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