One day after B.C. Hydro announced it had sent Site C project descriptions to both the federal and provincial environmental assessment agencies and unveiled its new design for the controversial dam project, various groups are continuing to speak out against the project.
I really wonder about the quality of their estimates, says Brian Churchill, director for the Peace Valley Environmental Association.
Churchill says the estimated project cost has increased from $3 billion in 2006 to $7.9 billion as of Wednesday, but B.C. Hydro is still using labour cost estimates from 2006.
He does say that after 30 years of people telling B.C. Hydro the proposed site for the dam is unstable, it appears the company is finally acknowledging the site instability with the new design. However, he says he will just have to believe the power authority has improved the design’s stability.
Although he says he has only been able to briefly go over the project description, one thing Churchill noticed was that B.C. Hydro is now planning on trucking 805,000 cubic metres of rocks from both the pine pass and Williston Lake to build the dam, significantly increasing traffic in the area.
The Council of British Columbia Treaty 8 Chiefs has also released a derisive review of the proposed project and Premier Christy Clark’s endorsement of it. It says the organization had hoped the new premier would be different, but is now showing that she is also in support of “dirty, unnecessary and expensive power development” as was Gordon Campbell.
The organization also says it believes British Columbians do not need this extra source of power and dispute the claim that hydroelectric power is clean.
The Site C dam project is currently in Stage 3 – the environmental review – of a five step evaluation. According to B.C. Hydro, if the project passes the regulatory review phase, the dam is expected to be completed and generating electricity by either late 2020 or early 2021.