The NDP government is blundering on with construction of the Site C hydro dam on unstable ground, despite availability of much lower-cost energy sources. It is the same government that BC’s Auditor General found has not effectively overseen the safety of dams in BC and did not adequately verify or enforce compliance of safety standards.
The Auditor General determined the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development did not fully verify dam owner compliance with all key regulatory requirements and determined:
- Key safety document went unreviewed by the ministry.
- Large proportion of operating manuals and dam emergency plans were not reviewed three or more years after submission.
- 40% of dam safety officers had backlogs of reports to review on whether high consequence dams are safe.
- Safety reports on dams took as long as eight years to accept. Most took almost two years.
- Almost half of dams in the provincial sample were not audited on schedule.
- Ministry expectations were unclear on how and when staff should review dam safety documents.
- Other staff duties compete with dam safety oversight.
Incompetence and apathy rules the day at the ministry, despite government paying Deputy Minister Richard Manwaring a salary of $221,000 in fiscal year 2021.
Is it important to do better? Of course it is. Lives are at stake.
In the words of Quesnel Lake resident Lionel Guiltner, “Let’s spend the money before, not after.”