FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. — Following the announcement last week that BC Hydro and the City of Fort St. John had reached an agreement-in-principle regarding Site C, the City finally released the details of the deal.
Under the terms of the legally binding agreement, BC Hydro has committed to providing $1 million per year to the City during construction, increased by 3.5 per cent each year.
“This agreement is a direct result of our residents taking a pragmatic approach, regardless of their personal feelings, to join in on a conversation about how they felt the community would be impacted,” said Mayor of Fort St. John Lori Ackerman.
“The features of the agreement are based on those discussions, your concerns and your hopes. So now we bring this agreement to you and close the loop.”
Peace River North MLA Pat Pimm says he is pleased with the outcome of the agreement, and adds that both parties have worked hard to reach a deal.
Other contributions from the crown corporation include $100,000 per year for eight years to assist non-profits, $250,000 to local non-profits that provide emergency/transitional funding — including the recent $200,00 donation to the Salvation Army — $75,000 this year to support local charities, and funding for an extra police officer to work for the Fort St. John detachment.
“BC Hydro appreciates the opportunity to work together with the City of Fort St. John to ensure a collaborative approach to mitigating impacts of the project and ensuring meaningful opportunities that benefit the residents of Fort St. John,” said BC Hydro CEO, Jessica MacDonald.
To support the health and wellness of the workers backing the project, tickets for use at recreation facilities in Fort St. John have also been included — totalling about $423,000 from Hydro.
“We look forward to working closely with local and First Nations communities to maximize the economic opportunity for families in the Peace Region and BC,” said Rick Quigley, of Peace River Hydro Partners — the recipient of the main civic works contract for Site C.
The City has also confirmed it will have the ability to access its rights to reservoir water as a potential source of domestic water, should the need for it ever become apparent. The two parties will coordinate regular monitoring of the City’s drinking water source quality and quantity, at BC Hydro’s expense.
Negotiations have been ongoing for several years, with few details known.
Public meetings regarding the agreement will be held tomorrow at noon and 6:30 p.m. at Fort St. John’s Council Chambers.