Site C

High cost of Site C will discourage electrification

A reader’s message mentioned his concern that Site C discourages BC from adopting onshore and offshore wind, solar, and geothermal sources of energy. He believes these could lower the cost of home electricity and thereby encourage British Columbians to replace natural gas as fuel for appliances and home heating. Expensive power from private producers and Site C does the opposite.

The reader asked what I might say to an NDP MLA about Site C. What follows is the gist of my response.

I visited the Peace River valley and noted instability of lands bordering the river. Evidence of frequent slides is apparent. Even to an inexpert observer, it seemed the wrong place to construct a dam. That observation is now proven by geotechnical problems that will result in electricity from Site C being about the most expensive power from any large-scale generating facility in the world.

I talked to many long-time northeast BC residents, including farmers who have lived on and worked the land for decades. BC Hydro has done much to inhibit farming activities in the area to be flooded. They prevented or discouraged use so that they could say those places had little agricultural value. Instead of celebrating unique growing capabilities of the Peace River valley, the province contemns it.

I talked with an observer of BC Hydro’s archaeological examinations in the future reservoir. She said teams consciously looked at places that were unlikely to reveal evidence of Indigenous culture and avoided spots where artifacts would be expected.

This project disrespects First Nations people whose ancestors have occupied the region for centuries. I remain astounded at NDP hypocrisy when they express affinity with Indigenous folks by opening meetings with acknowledgments of unceded territory. Of course, those are hollow statements made without cost. It would be braver to say the same thing while standing before the West Moberly First Nation on land soon to be flooded.

Beyond the environmental and human costs of Site C, the project is simply uneconomic when compared to alternatives. I’ve written much about that at IN-SIGHTS.

Site C is a project built on lies. Lies about demand for electricity, lies about the viability of Site C, lies about the project’s output being green energy, and lies about alternatives being unsuitable and more expensive.

Those untruths are fostered by people gaining financially from Site C, including BCNDP insiders.

Categories: Site C

12 replies »

  1. Here is an ironic comment: I met John Horgan in 2017 when he was visiting Williams Lake while on the campaign trail. He recommended Norm Farrell’s column to me as an insightful source of criticism of the (then-Liberal) policy of proceeding with Site C.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wow, so John Horgan is fully aware of all the issues at BC Hydro if he has read Norm’s column.

      What could his defense possibly be when he failed to make any meaningful change at the utility knowing full well the scope of problems???

      More and more it does feel like their is a powerful shadow group that is really in power in BC. They have no concern for the welfare of citizens and seem to take glee from imposing suffering on others.

      I do suspect SNC Lavalin is part of the shadowy power in BC, is there anyone else that should be outed? Any current execs at BC Hydro or corrupt bureaucrats in the government?

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Out of curiosity is it possible that the reason that the ‘truth’ on Site C et al from the ‘government’ to the ‘people’ is never told because its covered by CABINET CONFIDENCES – 12(1) and 12(2)
    Summary. W.A.C. Bennett’s Columbia River Treaty includes Site C therefore anything that has been happening in Cabinet discussions from way back then cannot legally be released to the General Public, short of overthrowing the government.

    Subsection 12(1) is intended to prevent the harm to government that is presumed to occur if the substance of deliberations is revealed before or too soon after the issues were considered or revealed prior to being ready for public review. Premature disclosure of Cabinet deliberations inhibits the ability of Cabinet members to debate issues openly and freely, thereby reducing the effectiveness of Cabinet’s decision making role.

    Maybe Premier John Horgan would like to tell the truth of what the BC Socreds and the BC Liberals Cabinets have been doing, in secret, since the 1950’s, but he’s not permitted to in his Cabinet.


    • It is generally in the interest of rule makers to make rules that minimize the difficulties that a free flow of information might cause them.

      The BCNDP promised to make long overdue reforms of The Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FOIPA) when they were the prospective government. Changes they made in late 2019 had little significance.

      Regarding release of information to the public, some restrictions arise from the statutes and others from policies and procedures. Those can be changed if the government desires to do so.

      Today, government has considerable latitude in deciding what information they might release and what they might keep secret. They can cause endless delays and establish financial and other barriers to keep information secret, even if it should be public. FOI depends on dedication of politicians and in BC, there is no commitment to real transparency from either the NDP or the Liberals.

      The public got to see selected parts of the Site C reviews made by Peter Milburn and the two outside engineers John France and Kaare Hoeg but important parts remain hidden from public view. It is a reasonable view that information is hidden because the engineers concluded the project still has material risks and government is unwilling to have those revealed.

      That’s been the pattern throughout this $16+ billion project. The Narwhal reported in January:

      The Site C project assurance board was established by Horgan’s government in 2018 to ensure the project was delivered on schedule and on budget. Its findings, as well as a list of its members, were kept secret from the public.

      Along with BC Hydro’s reluctance to issue quarterly Site C reports and answer questions posed by BCUC, it is clear that transparency and an informed public are far less than a priority for Horgan’s government.

      FOIPPA Policy & Procedures Manual

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Dirty low down liars the lot. BC Liberal passed the torch of corruption, lies and cover up’s to Horgan. See how he runs with it, held high above his head. And look at the bill we will be handed because of these dirty lying rats. These kinds of politicians are such bleep , bleep.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. “Criminogenic Regulation” appears to be the covert motive of the current bought iteration of the BCNDP. Instead of answering basic questions about why the BC Securities Commission has a right to disregard decisions of the BC Courts and to ignore all the required steps in managing investment portfolios, this bunch would rather put up spam filters so they don’t see such questions.

    Fortunately a Green staffer was able to find out that this spam filter ploy originated from inside the legislature, and it is profoundly disappointing that when the people of BC chose in May 2017 to repudiate the neoliberal ‘get government out of the way’ canard, that we have ended up with a regime that has zero affinity for core NDP values. What is required is a non-partisan cadre of British Columbians who are devoted to facing the problems of a corporate/racketeering governance model. I hope we can get some discussion on this concept worked on.

    Click to access w9613.pdf

    Unless we are willing to face the problem of corrupt motives in politics and regulation, we will not be prepared to overcome this #InstitutionalBetrayal, as Prof Jennifer Freyd of the Courage Foundation has taught us.


  5. Truth is not in Horgan’s lexicon and site C has become ground zero for NDP secrecy.

    I have used this so many times before but it seems the lesson is not learned.

    “If you tell a Site C lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The Site C lie can be maintained only for such time as the Provincial NDP can shield the people from the political, economic and/or environmental consequences of the Site C lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the Provincial NDP to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the Site C lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the Provincial NDP.”

    This has been brought to you by the mainstream media, which corporate leaders make damn sure the truth is not printed.


  6. Did you all know that Ken Peterson will be leaving the BC Hydro board?

    Some say he’s been booted for Site C blunders in oversight; some say he can no longer stomach the lies and malfeasance within the utility.

    Either way, he’s leaving and Chris O’Riley won’t be far behind.

    Hope they aren’t replaced with even more useless bureaucrats.


    • Yes, after more than three years, Peterson is gone from the BC Hydro board. How Chris O’Riley survives is puzzling but then, the utility’s main policies are a mystery.

      For some years now, competence has not been a desired qualification for running the company. At BC Hydro, the Peter Principle applies:

      It states that in most organizational hierarchies, employees rise through promotion until they reach a level of respective incompetence. The incompetents then stay in that position..


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