Combine Driver starts journey to protest Site C

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Grain Farmer, Nick Parsons began another protest Thursday as he began driving his combine from Dawson Creek to Hudson’s Hope.

At 61 years old, he’s voicing his opposition to BC Hydro’s proposed Site C hydroelectric dam on the Peace River, saying the project would lead to the loss of farmland.  He will travel from Dawson Creek to Chetwynd and then on to Hudson’s Hope.

‘‘Local food security is of utmost importance today,’’ said Parsons, of Farmington, B.C.  He went on to say

‘‘Action is strong, talk is weak. What there is now should remain safe for the benefit of future generations.’’

  

Construction of the dam, which would begin in about three years if Hydro overcomes all regulatory hurdles, would flood about 4,600 hectares of agricultural land, 57 per cent of which lies in the province’s agricultural land reserve.

Parsons first hit the highway in 1998, driving his 1970s-vintage combine, ‘‘Prairie Belle’’ to Victoria to seek aid for B.C. farmers dealing with two unusually wet years.

The trip ultimately made little impact on the situation in B.C., Parsons said, but that changed when he took his message to Ottawa in January 2000.

When Parsons arrived, then-federal Agriculture Minister Lyle Vanclief was trying to table a $400-million farmer’s aid package in the House of Commons.

Parsons said his trip spurred the Opposition to keep the bill from being tabled by the Liberal government. The day after his arrival, the bill was passed.

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