B.C. vows to complete Site C Dam despite surging cost

27 Février, 2021, 14:03 | Auteur: Auguste Feret
  • Site C to proceed despite hitting $16 billion price tag, one-year delay

Horgan and Ralston spoke at a news conference in Victoria about the findings of a status report into the hydroelectric dam project in northeastern B.C.

That wasn't the case a year ago, when Ralston asked for a review of the project after BC Hydro reported it had "serious concerns" about the project due to construction delays and geotechnical challenges. On Friday, a summary of that review, by former deputy minister Peter Milburn, was released. After the project is operational, the average ratepayer will face about a three per cent increase above previous forecasts based on the $10.7-billion price tag in 2018. They increased the budget to $10.7-billion and pledged to provide strict oversight.

Among the reasons for the revisions, according to the province, is the impact of COVID-19.

Horgan maintained, however, that Site C will be safe.

July 2015: Construction begins on Site C.

"Some of the geotechnical issues are concerning to me too".

Speaking to reporters Friday, the premier deflected blame.

The Union of BC Indian Chiefs released a statement condemning the decision that quoted Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, its president, saying "The Horgan government has made a monumental error in judgment by proceeding with this disgraceful blight of a project".

February 26, 2021: Horgan announces the project's cost has grown to $16 billion, and it won't be completed until 2025.

Today, Horgan again says the project will continue. "Today's report by Peter Milburn - finally released - shows how inept the NDP's handling of the project has been", Liberal energy critic Tom Shypitka said.

Since then, a series of challenges emerged, including delays owing to the pandemic.

September 28, 2020: A former president of BC Hydro is among 18 prominent Canadians who urge the province to stop work on the project while geotechnical problems are explored.

Cancelling the project would cost at least $10 billion, which doesn't include the costs of replacing the lost energy and capacity Site C would have provided.

A study conducted in 2019 suggested B.C. will need to double its electricity production by 2055.

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Premier John Horgan's announcement today that the government will continue with the Site C dam despite massive budget increases and delays brought criticism from opponents and supporters of the project. The average ratepayer would pay 26 per cent more, or about $216 a year, to cover the debt, he said.

"We will not put the jobs at risk".

"B.C. needs more renewable energy to electrify our economy, transition away from fossil fuels and meet our climate targets".

At the core of the case is the argument that construction of the multi-billion dollar dam will cause irreparable harm to West Moberly territory and the way of life for people who live there - rights protected under Treaty 8.

In a statement released following the announcement that the project would go ahead, the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs suggested the decision violated the premier's commitment to a United Nations declaration.

The province also released a dam safety report that concludes the project can be safely completed, with new measures to address the technical challenges that have been identified to date.

Kukpi7 Judy Wilson said the UN's Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination has called for a suspension of the project until it has the consent of Indigenous peoples.

BC Hydro moves two giant turbine parts for the Site C dam.

"It is unfathomable that such clear human rights violations are somehow OK by this government". "The premier's decision has grave consequences for West Moberly and other First Nations".

"We signed a treaty in 1814", he said. "They're violating treaty rights".

At the BC Legislature, Green Party Leader Sonia Furstenau slammed the government's decision. She said the business case for the dam was "astonishingly bad". "That's on the NDP government".

1970s: Engineering work is done to determine the feasibility of a third dam.

They were among 18 Canadians who wrote an open letter to the province calling for an independent team of experts to explore geotechnical problems at the site. "The costs going forward are going to be less than the costs behind us". Mr. Milburn recommended 17 changes to improve the management of the project.

"Considering that we lose the agricultural land, the biodiversity, the traditional territory of the Treaty 8 First Nations, this is catastrophic", Furstenau added.

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