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“Of course people who don’t live in the Peace and who aren’t informed about the impacts of Site C can be construed as saying we need a dam to ‘ensure energy supplies for future generations’.”
807 people across the province were sampled from July 8 – 12, in the poll conducted by Harris/Decima and commissioned by the Crown Corporation. A quarter of those asked said they had heard a lot about the project, a quarter had heard very little, while 49 per cent hadn’t heard anything about it. 80 per cent of residents said they support the dam, or could support it if certain conditions were met. Those include that the project go through an extensive, independent environmental assessment process and is approved, and the people and communities affected are properly consulted and have their concerns taken into account. 15 per cent of respondents oppose the project outright.
In Harris Decima’s conclusion, it writes, “While many large infrastructure projects these days experience public opinion resistance, this has not been the case for Site C. The majority of people believe there is a collective responsibility to ensure energy supplies for future generations, and that provided meaningful consultation and support for those most affected, and a thorough environmental review process, that this project makes sense for the province.”
However, Morison criticizes that the poll only mentioned that the province will experience significant growth in population and electricity demand over the next 20 years, and not that the dam will destroy thousands of acres of land and wildlife habitat. According to the survey, 64 per cent of British Columbians support building a new hydroelectric dam and generating facility, while 29 per cent are against that option.
Morison argues the poll should have included further information about possible increases to residents’ Hydro bills, Christy Clark saying all of the power generated will be needed to power LNG plants, and protests against the project in the Peace Region. She believes the people that really should be asked are those who live and work where the dam would be constructed.
“Would the City of Vancouver conduct a poll in the Peace Region, asking whether it’s a good idea to build a landfill site in Stanley Park?” she asks. “Do you really think that if the people of B.C. were fully informed of the issues surrounding Site C, that 80 per cent would support it? Not a chance.”
A poll with several identical questions was conducted in 2008, with similar results. At that time, 65 per cent supported a new hydroelectric dam, versus 32 per cent. In 2008, 17 per cent of those surveyed opposed the project outright.
The full results of the survey are available below.
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