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ICBA criticises NDP/Green call to send Site C to BCUC review

(Lasia Kretzel, NEWS 1130 Photo)

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – The BC NDP and Green Party’s decision to send the Site C project to the B.C. Utilities Commission for review would spell disaster for the province’s workers, taxpayers and energy future, according to the president of the Independent Contractors and Businesses Association (ICBA).

Standing in front of 2,252 mock pink slips – one for each of the workers currently on the project – ICBA president Chris Gardner launched the group’s Get2Yes campaign calling for the two parties to reverse their decision and allow the already-started, multi-billion dollar hydroelectric project to proceed unimpeded.

“Site C is a project that has been reviewed and approved by the provincial and federal government and upheld in nine different court cases,” Gardner said. “To call for a review overt a six week period with a mandate that they only look at the current supply and demand for energy in this province, it’s reckless and irresponsible.”

NDP leader John Horgan and Green leader Andrew Weaver have agreed to refer the project to the B.C. Utilities Commission to study its economic viability and consequences “in the context of the current supply and demand conditions prevailing in the B.C. market.”

In a May 31 letter to BC Hydro president Jessica McDonald, NDP Leader John Horgan asked the Crown Corporation to suspend the evictions of two homeowners in the area and urging it not to sign any new contracts for the project until a new government has gained the confidence of the legislature.

BC Hydro president Jessica McDonald has previously said a one-year delay in the project would cost $630 million, while Premier Christy responded Tuesday echoing McDonald’s comments. Horgan says Clark’s claims about the costs are “unsupported” while both her and Weaver say they are not reconsidering their position.

“We believe strongly that this is the right project for British Columbia. It’s been planned and reviewed for over a decade,” Gardner said when asked if the money already spent on the project was their primary concern. “We’re entering an era where we’re going to be transitioning off fossil fuels onto clean sources of power. Site C is a great opportunity for BC to move fast into that future, where we have electric cars powered by hydroelectricity.”

The Christian Labour Association of Canada, one of the unions representing workers at Site C is preparing a letter for the two leaders, which it expects to send Friday or early next week.

“People have moved their lives, families, mortgages houses, got the training and are building a career based on a project that’s intending to last eight or nine years,” CLAC spokesperson Ryan Bruce said. “The project didn’t get dreamed up in a day representative. They’ve been looking at this project for the last 10 years.”