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BC Approves the Site C Dam Project

BC Premier Christy Clark has announced that the Site C dam project will go ahead as planned in the northern part of the province. “Each of us has a responsibility to make big decisions that will affect us in the future,” said Clark in her announcement to the media.


Premier Christy Clark making the announcement on the Site C dam (Photo Credit: Screen Grab)

The $8.77 billion project will be built on the Peace River and provide 1,100 megawatts of capacity and produce about 5,100 gigawatt hours of electricity each year. The Site C Clean Energy Project would be the third dam and hydroelectric generating station on the Peace River.

The President and CEO of BC Hydro, Jessica McDonald called the dam approval a “historic day for BC Hydro and the province.” When questions were asked about the impacts on land and locals Clark said the benefit outweighs the risks and deferred the question to McDonald.


BC Hydro President and CEO Jessica McDonald speaking to the media (Photo Credit: Screen Grab)

“There’s been seven years of deep consultation with the affected First Nations including over and above that the environmental process which was a three year process,” said McDonald. “I would like to say that BC Hydro respects the issues and concerns that are unique to each community and that consultation process has been very important to us and has been very influential. The Joint Review Panel indicated that there are some impacts that cannot be mitigated and they are impacts of the project. Our intent is to continue discussions with First Nations and we would like to enter into impact benefit agreements with first nations in order to accommodate for impacts that cannot be mitigated."


The proposed dam project (Photo Credit: BC Hydro)

The Premier added that the cost of the project is higher than initially estimated because it includes a contingency addition for unforeseen incidents that may arise. But Clark says she is certain BC Hydro will come in under the estimated budget.

The Union of BC Indian Chiefs rejected the decision made by the Premier and have issued a statement:

“This is an ill-advised and incredibly stupid decision the Province has made regarding the Site C Project. BC Hydro has failed to make its case in terms of future energy demands and have not adequately outlined an economic business case for construction and repayment of the most expensive capital project in the history of BC. Accordingly, the Site C proposal needs to be properly reviewed by the BC Utilities Commission prior to any approvals. Further to this, the dam, associated structures and rights-of-ways will run directly through the heart of Treaty 8 First Nations territories and will have devastating impacts on Treaty rights of Treaty 8 First Nations. The project will gravely impact the ability of Treaty 8 communities way of life in exercising their treaty-protected constitutionally-enshrined rights to hunt, fish, trap, and harvest across their lands,” stated Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, President of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs.


The proposed dam project (Photo Credit: BC Hydro)

The premier says the total price tag for the project is $8.775 billion and construction will start in the summer of 2015 and is scheduled to be completed in 2024. The BC government estimates that the Site C dam is six to eight per cent cheaper than other energy options.


 
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