VICTORIA (NEWS1130) – With a decision on the fate of the controversial Site C dam expected by the end of this week, the BC government is still being pressured to either kill the project or complete it.
Galen Armstrong with the Sierra Club BC says a strong case has been made for stopping construction on the multi-billion dollar dam near Fort St. John.
“It makes no sense to flood the Peace River valley. There’s no need for the power. We have a surplus of energy. First Nations have called for the dam not to be built and it seems to be a clear violation of treaty rights.”
Wayne Peppard with the Allied Hydro Council of BC feels t’s too late to turn back now.
“The NDP found themselves in a pretty difficult predicament in having to make the decision at all, but nevertheless, it means a whole lot to the people up north — construction workers, that’s for sure. We certainly hope it does proceed.”
Peppard adds it’s unfortunate the NDP government’s inherited what could be the largest construction project in BC history. “If you proceed, you’re saving the ratepayers and the taxpayers a certain degree of money investing further to complete the dam. You’re going to have about 70 to 100 years of power.”
Armstrong insists there’s a surplus of energy in BC, so it’s a waste of money to complete Site C.
“The cheaper option. The option that makes the most sense in so many ways is to cancel the dam. If and when we do need the power, there are much cheaper alternatives. That power’s not going to be needed for decades if it is.”
Earlier this year, a BC Hydro expert suggested the project was no longer needed. Richard McCandless, a retired civil servant who has written extensive reports on the Crown Corporation, says there should be no rush to complete it by 2024, because demand for electricity is not high.
BC Hydro executives say if Site C isn’t completed, there will be a shortage of electricity by 2031, but McCandless disagrees.
A previous review conducted by the BC Utilities Commission finds the project could cost more than $10 billion.
A final decision is expected before Saturday because Premier John Horgan promised a decision by the end of this year and MLA’s go home for the holidays this weekend.