“We remain deeply concerned about the lack of oversight of this project from bodies independent of government including the BCUC and the Agricultural Land Commission,” they write. “The decision to remove the ALC from the process is concerning given the nearly 4,000 hectares of prime farmland at stake, and given recent reports into the Agriculture Minister’s attempts at interference with this independent government tribunal.”
In December 2013, Bennett was quoted as saying a review of the project by the ALC would be redundant as the panel process is already looking at the impact on agricultural land. The project is also exempt from a review by the B.C. Utilities Commission, which has rejected it in the past.
Horgan and Chandra also criticized the amount of general hearing sessions being held on the proposed dam.
“Holding a handful of meetings over the winter holidays, and only in northeastern communities, is insufficient consultation for a project that could affect the pocketbooks of people across the province. As such, I am writing to ask that you take steps to ensure the scope of the public hearings is expanded so they are accessible to the majority of British Columbians.”
Community sessions in front of the Joint Review Panel resume today and tomorrow in Doig River and Halfway River, followed by general sessions in Dawson Creek. The panel will wrap up the week in the Alberta Peace with two days of hearings at the Sawridge Inn in Peace River on Friday and Saturday.
Then it’s back to FortSt. John a week from today for nine more days of hearings at the Pomeroy Hotel, running over an eleven day period, and finishing on 23rd.