Category: Site C

Explanations for BC Gov’t wasting billions of dollars

Kurzweil and others have argued that people find this pace of change almost impossible to grasp, because it is human nature to perceive rates of progress as linear, not exponential… People tend to focus on the past few years, but pulling back reveals a much more dramatic change. Many things that society now takes for granted would have seemed like futuristic nonsense just a few decades ago…

Survival of the unfittest… megaprojects

UC Berkeley scholar Karen Trapenberg Frick wrote of the 25 years it took for Californians to build a Bay bridge replacement. Dr. Frick said the project was “a cautionary tale to which any governing authority embarking on a megaproject should pay heed.” British Columbia’s highly paid bureaucrats and political leaders were not paying attention.

A valley will be destroyed

Valley of the Southern North is a love letter to The Peace Valley and the people and creatures that make it their home. The Site C dam, now under construction, will destroy ancestral territory of the Dane Zaa and Cree, violate treaties and displace residents, farmers and wildlife living along its shores.

For the public: no gain, much pain

In October 2014, BC energy minister Bill Bennett assured us the $7.9 billion Site C dam budget was final, fully reviewed by specialists and reliable because it included a contingency well above prudent amounts. Nothing left to chance, uncertainty or politics because the budget numbers were developed by the world’s top experts…

Deception and duplicity

While John Horgan’s government was almost doubling the Site C budget to C$16 billion, the Biden administration was getting ready to approve a C$3.4 billion wind project off the coast of Massachusetts. The per megawatt cost of the wind project is less than 30% of Site C’s capital cost per megawatt and it destroys no farmland, violates no Indigenous rights agreements, and presents no threats to nearby communities…

BC NDP arming opponents

Like BC Liberals before them, BC NDP is dishonest about BC Hydro operations and the Site C megaproject. Government joins BC Hydro and continues lying about demand growth. At the same time, they hide embarrassing information about the dam and its out of control budget. The Horgan path is inexplicable when pre-2017 NDP statements are reviewed. The explanation will be had some years from now when NDP opponents are denouncing the party’s competence. Liberals used BC Ferries as a hammer for 15+ years after the 1990s but the financial blunders at BC Hydro are much, much larger…

Fuel on a fire

I understand why people gaining direct financial rewards support the Peace River megaproject. But it is harder to explain why rational and, we hope, honest cabinet ministers stay attached to a hazardous hydropower project when less expensive, less damaging options are available. Perhaps the refusal to admit error is explained by Dr. Guy Winch, writing in Psychology Today…

Lesson to be learned

A Bloomberg Quicktake video, How Boeing Lost Its Way (embedded below) put me in mind of BC Hydro. Years ago, both companies were effective in delivering value for money to customers. Then attitudes changed. Growing bigger became more important than growing better…

BC Hydro quandary

Unrestrained capital spending and needed write-offs of valueless items will result in major rate increases. But that presents a critical problem. Alternatives for consumers are steadily getting easier and less costly. BC Hydro is entering the utility death spiral.

BC Hyjacked, provincial utility

In the early 2000s, Liberals changed BC Hydro’s primary purpose from utility service for the public to financial service for party friends and other special interests. BC NDP carries on much as before, except they slightly altered beneficiaries of the utility’s massive spending…

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.

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.

NDP Cabinet needs a reality check

Harry Swain, having served as chair of the federal-provincial review panel for Site C, is qualified to provide a project analysis. The BC NDP caucus should pay attention because Premier Horgan has mishandled Site C at every step. Doing the right thing now involves Premier and Cabinet admitting to a years long series of blunders. That’s not likely to happen without severe pressure from their enablers…