The B.C. government has three options to deal with the troubled Site C dam in the northern part of the province and they all involve billions of dollars.
The controversial dam along the Peace River was a dream project for former premier Christy Clark, but the current government is dealing with a project that may be out of date before a single kilowatt is produced.
“The project’s not on time, not on budget, and it’s export capabilities are severely limited,” said Bob McCullough, who heads up McCullough Research, a B.C. think tank.
When John Horgan and his NDP government took power six months ago, one of his first acts was to have the B.C. Utilities Commission review the project – something the government under Christy Clark didn’t do.
One of the highlights from the review is that the former B.C. Liberal government overestimated the need for the power that would be generated from the Site C dam.
That’s music to the ears of everyone in Victoria who delivered a boatload of petitions, letters, and information to the steps of the B.C. Legislature the day after the review was released.
McCullough said that First Nation communities are far too often ignored when it comes to projects like this.
“They tend not to get the input that they should in my opinion,” he said. “Clearly these changes in their environment need to be taken very seriously.”
The estimated $8.8 billion project would be the third dam on the Peace River and flood more than 100 km of prime agricultural land.
Now, according to the B.C. Utilities Commission, the government has three options – and they all cost billions of dollars.
- Continue to build at a whopping cost of $10-billion knowing the project won’t be completed by 2024.
- Stop the project and remediate the land at a cost of $1.8 billion.
- Suspend and restart the project at a cost of $3.6 billion.
The B.C. government said it will make a final decision by the end of 2017.