Manitoba isn’t the only province dealing with overzealous hydroelectric developers. At the moment the Peace River Valley in British Columbia is the site for the controversial Site C dam. The proposed mega-project is expected to flood over 100 km of river valley, decimating some of the most fertile land in northern BC, along with hunting, fishing, and trapping grounds, old growth boreal forests, and a critical wildlife corridor.
There is a movement to stop the dam from being built. Last year many academics, including many involved in Wa Ni Ska Tan, put their names to a scholarly letter of concern regarding the dam. They concluded that the “process did not accord with the commitments of both the provincial and federal governments to reconciliation with and legal obligations to First Nations, protection of the environment, and evidence-based decision-making with scientific integrity” (https://sitecstatement.org).
Since then organizations and individuals have come out against the project, calling for a full stop, arguing that the benefits to stopping the project far outweigh the costs. Recently former BC Hydro CEO, Marc Eliesen, called the project “reckless” and “irresponsible” in his report to the BC Utilities Commission.
August 30th was the deadline to make submissions to the BC Utilities Commission. The BCUC will issue a preliminary report of their findings on Sept 20. Open houses will be held across BC to present their findings and receive public comments. The panel’s final report was published on November 1.
As of December 11th, it appears the dam will be moving forward. The B.C. government has decided to go ahead with the project. Despite this set back many groups are not giving up the fight to stop the project.
For more information about the Site C inquiry or to sign up for BCUC updates on it, you can do so at http://www.sitecinquiry.com/
Photo Caption & Credit: The location of the Site C damn in northeastern B.C., currently under construction. (The Point of No Return/Amnesty International)