VIDEO: B.C. to continue with Site C dam project; farmers dismayed

The B.C. government is forging ahead with building the controversial Site C dam project, a decision that is leaving ranchers and farmers along the construction route disappointed.

Premier John Horgan announced today that the government will continue to construct Site C, a $10.7-billion project located on the Peace River near Fort St. John, B.C.

Farmers and ranchers along the construction route are being forced to leave because once the dam is complete, it will divert the river and flood farmland.

The project was initially started by the previous Liberal government but, when the NDP took power, Horgan promised he would get the B.C. Utilities Commission to review the project’s viability.

Upon reviewing the commission’s findings, Horgan said during a news conference that B.C. had no choice but to go ahead with the project. If the government chose to stop it and remediate the land, it would have cost $4 billion.

“This is not a project we favour or one we would have stated, but we’re three years in,” Horgan said. “But we have to make a decision. It’s not an easy one, but we have to focus on the future and deliver.”

But producers who are losing their homes and land because of the project say the government should have walked away from Site C.

Ken Boon, the president of the Peace Valley Landowners Association, said B.C. doesn’t need this new power source right away, arguing the government could have installed renewable energy sources, like solar, geothermal or wind, in the future.

“We’re devastated,” said Boon, who farms near Fort St. John. “To flood the only Class 1 farmland for power that we don’t need right now is unfortunate. Constructing dams is becoming more costly and renewables are only getting cheaper.”

Those in favour of the dam have argued the project is necessary because it will help bring utility rates down and ensure construction jobs aren’t lost.

Horgan said it was tough weighing both sides of the debate, but argued he had to do what was best for the province.

He said if the dam project was killed, average electricity rates would go up by $198 per year and debt would skyrocket, which would make it more challenging for the government to borrow and build new schools or hospitals.

The dam, which has yet to face another court challenge, has been slated to be complete by 2024. It’s estimated it will produce enough power for 450,000 homes.

Contact jeremy.simes@producer.com

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Comments

  • Monkeeworks

    Horgan, the NDP leader, said over and over how he doesn’t want the dam. He swore he would put a stop to it if he was elected. What does he do in reality? Finishes the dam. It was not to late to stop. The land is still not flooded. Jobs? Only until the job is finished then 2500 jobs move away like they always do after some major project is completed. They could have stayed on and worked to put it back to the way it was before. In the same sentence as we are going to finish the project he talks about food sustainability. Mungall, the NDP minister of energy helped put a stop to a run of the river project, (a very small run of the river) when the Liberals tried to get it built, said the province does not need the power. She absolutely swore an NDP government would reverse the Site C project. Nope, in there like a monkey after a nickel.

    What did the Green Party leader, Mr. Weaver, have to say? He said they are disappointed in the NDP with their choice to finish the project but see no reason to bring down the government because of it. His words.

    So, two parties, with the same ideals. I don’t understand their problem with the Kinder Morgan Pipeline twinning project now. With the pipeline, no land is destroyed and any leak can be repaired and cleaned up. An oil tanker spill can be cleaned up and the mess will disappear. With the Site C dam, once it is flooded, the land is destroyed forever. Almost 38,000 acres of farm and native land. Destroyed. The land destroyed by the flooding claimed by the government is less as they do not count initial flood damage where topsoil is washed into the reservoir and rock will remain after the flood recedes. Land you can’t use as there is a danger of it eroding or collapsing into the reservoir is not counted. Thousands of animals that called the Peace River valley home. Moose, elk, caribou. Dead. Millions of insects. Dead. Farmers driven off the land, First Nations people, ignored.

    People voted for the NDP as a party for the people. They voted for the Green Party to preserve a beautiful province. Both parties have shown their true face to the public. Where the money is, the parties will follow. Horgan, not my Premier. Weaver, a weaver of lies.

    • John Fefchak

      Weaver of lies…aren’t they all? They swear, they promise, they make vows, and then do the exact opposite! Reminds me of an ole song “On top of Old Smokey” ….They’ll hug you and kiss you and tell you more lies than the crosswise on a railroad or stars in the skies.

      • Harold

        I agree and It certainly exposes how feeble minded the politicians are when left on their own and powerless and why they should not be regarded as trustworthy in all that they do and they should be heavily scrutinized by the public. The true nature of the term Public Servant has been totally lost by the politician and the public to the gains of the corporate who now control the politician and the government and we now are undeniably their servants. We now pay our servants to tell us what we can, and cannot do, and today the absurdity of this – is considered logical. They lie and we pay, and they lie and we pay, and they lie and we pay, and so forth. They do what we say and we pay, and they do what we say and we pay, and they do what we say and we pay, is seen to be the most illogical thing for us to do. Who has stripped away from us our ability to think and act in the proper way? The corporate know how to penalize politicians and governments and taxpayers if the corporate are denied their future profits. The show must go on or BC taxpayers will lose $4 billion and a shovel has not even been turned yet. Clearly the Politician is only the corporation’s puppet. Would the taxpayers have allowed the corporation their $4 billion dollar trap had the taxpayer been involved in the negotiations? No doubt the mindless public cheered on election night as though they had achieved something great; no doubt they will mindlessly cheer at the next election too. We seem to cheer Canada wide – the same old same old – like it brings with it something good. The thought of cheering us (the public) when a politician actually does our bidding somehow got lost along the way as we grew deeper and deeper into our governments imposed and taught doctrines of our servitude and public fractionalizations. It will be more remarkable the day when the public will tell the Politician what part of the Gluteus Maximus to kiss and in no uncertain terms.

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