Site C's potential impact on environment, homes in Peace Region

Hydro maintains that will create an instant lake, which would become a tourist attraction with at least three boat launches and lots of fish, including 230 per cent more habitat for rainbow trout.

However, some other wildlife in the area would have parts of their habitats destroyed by the project. To start, three types of fish may be lost, including Arctic grayling in the Moberly River, bull trout in the Halfway River and mountain whitefish. However, they would continue to be present downstream of the dam, and may still persist in the reservoir.

Certain migratory birds, including three types of Warblers, and two types of Sparrow, all of which are considered to be at risk, would lose some of their homes, along with certain butterflies and bats. Rare plants like Drummond's thistle and little bluestem would also be at risk.
 
The Saulteau and Blueberry First Nations members would also lose some of their cultural areas and landscape at Attachie, Bear Flats and Farrell Creek, but there would not be a significant effect on their hunting, trapping and fishing opportunities.
 
Hydro believes that these effects can largely be mitigated through a variety of measures, which will be evaluated throughout construction by an environmental monitoring program, and well as environmental management plans to limit impacts.
 
Not only would wildlife and vegetation be affected by the potential dam, but several Peace Region residents would also lose their homes. 100 land holdings are expected to be affected, with up to 20 property owners being forced to move to another section of their property, or away altogether, with compensation from Hydro for the move.
 
Meanwhile, approximately 40 new permanent housing units would be built in the Fort St. John area for workers, which will be available for long-term use after construction is finished. Hydro would also build 10 new affordable housing units for use by the community.
 
As an average of 800 workers are expected to be on site during construction, with a contingency of up to 2,100, several temporary camps would be set up on both banks of the river, as well as near Hudson's Hope and upper Jackfish Lake Road. Overall, construction is expected to create 10,000 direct jobs, with a total of 33,000 jobs throughout all stages.
 
Temporary and permanent access roads would also be built for construction and operation. Approximately 30 kilometres of Highway 29 would be realigned at Lynx Creek, Dry Creek, Farrell Creek East, Halfway River and Cache Creek.
 
Despite these potential residual effects, B.C. Hydro believes they are justified by the public's interest in long-term, reliable electricity, the economic benefits, and lower greenhouse gas emissions.
 
Local governments in all of the Peace Region would receive "direct, indirect and induced" incremental tax revenues, resulting from economic activity during the construction phase. Hudson's Hope would also receive a one-time contribution to address land no longer available for development, and Hydro would provide annual grants-in-lieu estimated at $1.3 million to local government throughout operations.
 
Customer demand for electricity is expected to increase by about 40 per cent over the next 20 years, not including potential load from LNG facilities. Site C is expected to create dependable energy and capacity more than 100 years.
 
To view the full Environmental Impact Statement, click here.
About Erica Fisher 4010 Articles

Erica is a reporter for Moose FM and energeticcity.ca in Fort St. John, B.C. She grew up in Victoria, B.C. and received her Bachelor's Degree in Journalism from Concordia University in Montreal, Quebec.