“As far as I’m concerned, they’re starting construction soon – in the summer,” Minister Bennett said during the gathering – declining to cite a specific start date.
There’s been contention surrounding Site C since it’s been formally in the works, and now the Peace Valley Landowners Association and Treaty 8 First Nations – among others – are trying to block construction in B.C. Supreme Court.
Constructing the $8.8 billion dam involves flooding a portion of the Peace River to create an 83-kilometre-long reservoir. More than 5,500 hectares of land is expected to be flooded, according to an environmental impact statement. This will result in First Nations heritage sites being washed out, as well as approximately 20 families being forced to move.
The province says Site C will produce enough energy to power 450,000 homes once completed in 2024.
The Landowners Association’s court case is set for April 20, 2015 while the Treaty 8 case is being heard on April 23, 2015.
Minster Bennett did however backtrack a bit on his aforementioned statement while talking to reporters – saying he’s “cautiously optimistic.”
Joe Foy, supporter of the court cases and member of the Wilderness Committee, says it’s “mind-blowing” that Minister Bennett would “bumble forward” with the project.