With the start of construction at the Site C dam location, now believed to be imminent, the Chief of the West Moberly First Nation is now not ruling out the possibility of a confrontation between protesters and workers.
“We’ve got members that are upset,” said Chief Roland Willson.
“We’ve been talking with them… but we can’t control what they do.”
While dam opponents will be in federal court beginning July 20 seeking an injunction for a stop work order, a physical blockade is possible if BC Hydro begins construction before then.
“On this, we have to follow what the law is,” said Willson.
“If it comes to that, there will be a group of people. We’re hoping it won’t come to that. The joint panel review was very clear there is no justification for this (project),” he said.
At last report, the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resources said there were 45 outstanding work permit applications for the project, and Hydro’s Dave Conway said that included the main civil works contract — the actual dam construction contract.
However, Conway conceded, if and when Hydro gets permits back, work on Crown land is likely to get underway soon, although he suggested speculation about it beginning as early as next week, could be premature.
“It would be initial things kind of around mid-July to mobilize,” Conway said.
“That type of work would be things like site preparation, things like fencing, getting security down to site. Nothing that’s on the large side.”
Mr. Conway also told us Hydro has four short-listed proponents for the aforementioned main civil works contract and hopes to be able to name a preferred proponent this fall.
That noted, he said Hydro will move forward in a slow and measured manner with the things it can do and avoid speculating on where the court cases will go.
Dam opponents hope to use the courts to halt the project with an infringement of treaty rights argument at the centre of First Nations opposition in both BC and Alberta.