B.C. Supreme Court dismisses challenge to Site C provincial permits

The Site C powerhouse and spillways as depicted in BC Hydro's Site C Construction Youtube video. Photo by BC Hydro/YouTube

VICTORIA, B.C. – The B.C. Supreme Court has dismissed a challenge of Provincial Permits against the Site C Dam.

In a judgement today released by the courts, the challenge between the Prophet River First Nation and West Moberly First Nations and Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, Regional Manager, Northeast Region, Regional Water Manager, Northeast Region & Chief Inspector of Mines and BC Hydro, was dismissed.

In the conclusion of judgement, the Honourable Mr. Justice Sewell says that the petitioners (Prophet River First Nation and West Moberly First Nations) did not establish proper grounds for judicial review.

“I find that the petitioners have not established any basis for judicial review of the statutory decision makers’ decisions to issue the Permits.”

He also says that he agrees a custom consultation process would be valuable.

“I would be remiss if I did not state that I agree that a custom consultation process would be of great assistance to the parties in dealing with the many issues that will arise during the 10-year construction phase of the Project. As of the date of the hearings in this petition, the parties had not been able to conclude a Consultation Agreement. I also understand that the Province has terminated the Negotiation Agreement.

I urge the parties to renew their efforts to reach agreement on a custom consultation process for consultation on the Project. Until such an agreement is concluded, the parties must of course act in accordance with their existing agreements and the jurisprudence explaining the duty to consult.

In this regard, I note that the parties agreed to use their best efforts to conclude a Consultation Agreement. That required good faith efforts on both sides to conclude such an agreement. The question of whether such efforts have been made may well be relevant to the question of whether there is meaningful consultation on future permits. However, that issue is not before me on this petition.

The petition is dismissed without costs to any party.”

The full judgement is below.

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