PINNED: From the news archives: Site C history

Large dams run 96 percent over budget on average, according to a University of Oxford study based on projects in 65 countries including Brazil and China. The study, published in the journal Energy Policy, showed that large dams also took about 2.3 years longer to complete than originally planned. That was about 44 percent longer than projected at the point of approval. The research was based on a study of 245 dams…

PINNED Certainty of Site C massive cost overrun is 86% (from 2014)

BC’s Minister of Energy said in mid October that the $7.9 billion budget for Site C had been examined by top international experts and was assuredly “reliable.” Two months later, Premier Clark revealed the dam budget had jumped to $8.5 billion. Days passed and when project approval was announced, the budget had jumped to $8.775 billion. Once again, the British Columbia Liberals demonstrate practiced mendacity. They are consistent though since mega-projects of the past five years typically doubled between first announcement and completion but were invariably pronounced to be on-time and on-budget. The mantra will be used again…

Paving paradise

Forests provide Canadians a wealth of benefits that go beyond providing jobs and income. Forests provide habitat for living things, fight flooding, keep us cool, feed us, heal us and provide sanctuaries of spiritual meaning for many Canadians and Indigenous people. Old growth forest should be icons of the province. Having survived hundreds of years, they must not be destroyed for the convenience and profit of a few, or for political debts owed to unions that funded John Horgan’s rise to power…

A rural coastal property

The BC Liberal Government refused to address affordability issues because the real estate industry was a large benefactor of that party. In addition, property transfer taxes were putting billions of dollars into the public treasury. I’m not sure the BC NDP dares to alter the status quo…

Covid-19 tales

Hostility to commonly accepted health practices does not come only from the foolish and the uniformed. The New Yorker published Sweden’s Pandemic Experiment, which shows highly educated policy makers can put more faith in hope and wishes than in science…

BC: a follower, not a leader

The BC Government could have learned from hydropower disasters in Newfoundland and Labrador and Manitoba as those were unfolding. Spending went out of control on Muskrat Falls and Keeyask. Because NL has only about 10% of BC’s population, the federal government had to step in to avoid ruinous electricity rate increases. BC could have learned. It did not, because political and private interests ranked ahead of the public’s.

Toothless watchdogs

Sadly, the people of BC have been badly served by financial watchdogs who are paid to protect us. Perhaps the removal of Auditor General John Doyle some years ago was a blunt lesson. Of course, being dependent on government for year to year funding is also an effective leash. Make the politicians unhappy? They will remember when its time to establish the office budget.

True cost of hydro power?

Proponents of megaprojects routinely underestimate financial costs. After conducting an extensive study, top experts concluded this is caused by “strategic misrepresentation, that is, lying.” In addition, proponents invariably ignore environmental and social costs of megaprojects…

Site C bywords: misinformation and secrecy

Misinformation and secrecy have become the bywords at BC Hydro and at the Premier’s office and the provincial energy ministry. Because the decision makers involved with Site C are determined to spread misinformation, they rely on secrecy to keep evidence out of the view of project critics and the BC Utilities Commission…

Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead

When the project assurance board was populated by insiders and avid Site C cheerleaders, inevitably, it would fail to protect the public interest. Everyone involved knew that but were satisfied with the status quo. The main responsibility for massive waste and destruction in northeast BC lies not with self-interested enablers and not to the previous government; it belongs to the man who four years ago needed money to wage an election campaign. To get it, he made promises to a group of trade union leaders.

Electricity policy built on lies

No one doubts that in coming decades, demand will grow, partly fueled by electric vehicles. But that growth will be more modest than claimed by BC Hydro’s agents. It could be easily met by conservation and efficiency programs, upgrades to existing facilities and creation of clean, non destructive renewable sources.

Hypocrisy!

Stop, go, yes, no! NDP Cabinet Minister Murray Rankin wants to be on both sides of a vital issue. He congratulates University of Victoria students for partial success after an eight-year campaign asking the university to adopt responsible investment policies that exclude fossil fuels. Yet, Rankin sits at the Cabinet table of a government making massive investments for the benefit fossil fuel producers.