The panel is made up of three member appointed by federal and provincial environment ministers, including Chair Harry Swain and members James Mattison and Jocelyne Beaudet.
Swain is considered an expert in public environmental policy and has extensive experience in both the public and private sectors, including time as the federal government’s first senior advisor on renewable energy and later Director General for Electricity, Coal, Uranium and Nuclear Energy with the Department of Energy, Mines and Resources.
Mattison has 30 years experience as a professional engineer and senior natural resources expert, and has experience and knowledge of hydroelectric projects in B.C. having served as Assistant Deputy Minister and Comptroller of Water Rights with the Ministry of the Environment and public review processes.
Meanwhile, Beaudet is a communications consultant with thirty years of experience in various fields related to the environment and public participation, and has served as a review panel member for federal, provincial and municipal environmental agencies.
The three will be visiting the site of the proposed dam today and tomorrow for a first-hand look at the project area. The panel will be checking out the proposed construction site, the flood zone, and the road realignment areas by helicopter, boat, and vehicle. They will fly both upstream to the Williston Reservoir and downstream past the Alberta border, as well as travel by boat from Hudson’s Hope to Taylor.
However, meeting with Hydro or the public about the review process will not be a part of the trip.
If that joint review panel decides the EIS is sufficient, public hearings will be scheduled for this fall/winter, with a provincial and federal government decision on the entire project tentatively set for the fall of 2014.