Based on previous government and BC Hydro statements construction of the Site-C dam project, could now be less than three weeks away.
However, even though the summer solstice this year is on Sunday, June 21st, Hydro’s Dave Conway, while still stopping short of naming a specific date, has now indicated, the longest the day of the year and countries birthday will both be behind us, before the work gets underway. “We’re looking at this summer, potentially as early as July”.
As reported earlier, Hydro intends to clear about 735 hectares of trees and vegetation from the banks of the construction site, but it’s dealing with a very narrow seasonal window, and there have been reports the river diversion work can only take place in August and September. “it’s a relatively a narrow window of opportunity. With the spring run-off you’re dealing with increased water volume. But you have, primarily, the Halfway River which can have substantial spring run-off flows. Or you can get major storm events, which increases the flow.” according to Conway.
Conway says then come September, the load demand increases again “then you’re starting into the winter load demand months and that increases our generation, which increases the volume of water in the river. So our flexibility to be able to control the flows because of what’s going on with spring run-off. So that’s why the window is relatively narrow.”
Thus there’s a sense of construction urgency, but approximately 45 permits are still held up, as Hydro continues consultations with the Treaty Eight Tribal Association.
Chief Roland Wilson, speaking recently about project legal challenges expected to continue next month in federal court, says the West Moberly First Nation permit review could take anywhere from three months to a year.