Category: Site C

Errors and alternatives

Three years ago, John Horgan’s Government promised the $10.7 billion budget for Site C would be firm, final and effectively managed. Three years before that, Liberal Energy Minister Bill Bennett provided assurance that the $7.9 billion dam budget had been fully reviewed by the world’s top experts. With an overly generous contingency, he said It was final, with nothing left to chance.

In 2020, BC Hydro admits it is uncertain how the dam can be made safe from catastrophe. Consequently, the amount of money needed to complete Site is unknown…

Absent watchdogs

Most journalists, particularly ones occupying the BC Press Gallery, have spent little or no time examining Site C, the costliest public project in BC history. In contrast, I remember daily headlines and aroused commentary when Premier Glen Clark’s government thought ferry construction would invigorate BC’s shipbuilding industry. In financial terms, the bungled fast ferry project was 1/20 the size of Site C, destroyed no valuable farmlands and disrupted no cultural sites…

Site C losses will be massive

With domestic demand in 2020 below that of 2005, the lies of BC Hydro’s spin doctors about demand growth are exposed by the company’s audited sales numbers. Site C power seems promised to natural gas producers and processors at less than 6¢ per KWh, which would result in operating losses at Site C approaching $500 million a year. Those could double if BC’s surplus power is dumped in export markets that are taking advantage of low-cost solar and wind power. With certainty of billions to be lost by completing Site C, the obvious choice is to suspend the project immediately. It would be the least-cost option…

Fighting climate change with slash and burn

Right now they’re destroying two amazing landmarks on the river, tall rock pillars called “The Gates” in an attempt to cut a channel of the river off and use the rock for their mad earthworks. We hear that even locals who support the dam are becoming restive when they see the profligate throwing around of money and environmental destruction…

Next generation wind energy

Those of us who opposed construction of the Site C dam—including the BC NDP until May 2017—argued that rapid advances in alternative energy systems meant flooding the Peace River valley was inappropriate and unnecessary. That was true in 2017 and remains true today…

Unattractive risk

Every young person is taught that willingness to fail is empowering and roads to success are built atop failures. Such precepts are generally true but it is also accurate to say death-dealing disasters are usually reckless failures from which nothing good comes. Italian engineers were incautious when they chose to build a dam where the slopes of Monte Toc were unstable. Two thousand people died in the disaster that followed…

Open for business, at any price

Billions of dollars in the accounts of vested interests instead of the pockets of residents and SMEs. That’s will be the outcome after Clark Liberals and Horgan’s NDP greenlighted Site C, a $12 billion dam, which BC residential and SME consumers do not and will not need.

Site C, again

Site C did not proceed through ignorance and stupidity. It was a mean spirited and carefully designed choice to favour special economic and political interests above all others. Residential and small business ratepayers were viewed as powerless consumers who, with sufficient advertising and mistruths, could be convinced to believe Site C was appropriate and inevitable, even a wise choice. The net effect is to remove money from many pockets and deposit it into the pockets of a few.

Site C: undo, redo or make do?

Wasting money on destructive energy projects makes zero sense when there are better alternatives. British Columbia is spending billions on Site C. It could suspend the project today and have less harmful and cheaper sources of clean power operational by the time more electricity is needed.

Site C provides work of questionable quality to a mostly transient workforce

The NDP promoted its PowerBC program in the 2017 election. Had they been sincere, government would be keeping a promise to voters and they would now be preserving Peace River farmlands. Instead, they are destroying a valuable agricultural area. Government would be respecting rights of First Nations and protecting BC Hydro ratepayers. In addition, the province would be stimulating growth of construction, maintenance, manufacturing and technology jobs for permanent residents in every region of the province. Instead of good jobs in BC communities, Site C provides work of questionable quality to a mostly transient workforce employed by conglomerates from Spain (Acciona) and Korea (Samsung).

Bright and breezy days go dark

The province won’t now admit that solar power potential is huge and economical. If they did, voters would wonder why BC Hydro is borrowing $11 billion, destroying valuable farmlands and breaking promises to indigenous people, just to reward political friends. If BC had a Press Gallery or an Official Opposition that cared a damn about the public interest, Site C would be a giant issue. Sadly, wildfires and property taxes on multi-million dollar mansions are more important.

Disaster warning

There is an “extremely high probability” that Site C will be delayed by at least one year according to a comprehensive report prepared by international dam construction expert, E. Harvey Elwin, who reviewed a number of confidential documents obtained by West Moberly First Nations in the leadup to their court application for an injunction to halt work on the project. Mr. Elwin’s report contradicts recent assurances by Energy Minister Michelle Mungall praising BC Hydro for doing “a fantastic job” and claiming the project is on track with its current schedule and budget.