This holiday season, all of our Supporters are entered to win an $800 Shopping Spree Giveaway!

FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. — The ballroom at the Pomeroy Hotel was packed for the second straight evening last night, as the B.C. Utilities Commission held the second of two public hearings into its Site C Inquiry in Fort St. John.

BCUC Chair and CEO David Morton outlined the frame of the Commission’s Inquiry to start the session, before registered speakers were given five minutes each to present to the panel that was comprised of Morton, Richard Morris, Karen Kelly, and Dennis Cote. Mayor Lori Ackerman, former Mayor Steve Thorlakson, Peace River Regional District Electoral Area ‘B’ Director Karen Goodings, and Peace Valley Environment Association Executive Director Andrea Morison were among the 22 members of the public that testified to the BCUC Panel.

The session began with presentations by Arlene Boon, Randal Hadland, Goodings, and Morison, who all spoke against the construction of Site C. Goodings, who has represented Area ‘B’ for 29 year, was Chair of the PRRD when the provincial government made its final investment decision on Site C. She stated that her opposition to the project was based on various issues with the findings of the Joint Review Panel that presented its final report in May, 2014. Goodings pointed to Recommendations 47, 48, and 49 by the JRP, which recommended that the project be sent to the BCUC.

Another presentation by Rick Koechl pointed out while oil and gas companies have been permitted to burn natural gas to produce electricity, BC Hydro has been denied that opportunity. Koechl also stated that under the terms of the province’s Clean Energy Act of 2010, BC Hydro would be allowed to generate up to seven percent of electricity from fossil fuels, which would still qualify Hydro to operate the Burrard Thermal generating station.

Former mayor Steve Thorlakson, ICBA representative Art Jarvis, and CLAC regional director Josh Pastoor all spoke to the Commission in favour of building the dam. Pastoor, whose union represents roughly 700 workers at the site, pointed out how the worksite has an open model that allows for companies that are both unionized and non-unionized to apply to work at the site. Thorlakson also testified that despite importing more power than it exported, BC Hydro had a net profit of $125 million last year, which he said would be able to grow if Site C were to be built. Thorlakson also pointed out how Site C’s power would be able to be sold to Alberta, and would also allow both the province and the country as a whole to better meet its commitment under the 2015 Paris Agreement on Climate Change.

Fort St. John Mayor Lori Ackerman testifies to the BC Utilities Commission’s Site C Inquiry Panel. Photo by Chris Newton

Current Fort St. John mayor Lori Ackerman spoke largely about the City’s actions in dealing with the plans to build Site C, and how it was able to negotiate agreements with BC Hydro and the government. Ackerman pointed out that while the decision about whether to build Site C was not up to the City, that the City was able to improve the quality of life overall for its residents with those agreements.

“The concern for many in our community is uncertainty,” said Ackerman. “It’s the reason we took the position that we should be left better off as a result of this project, not a community that has had a price to pay with a mega project built on its doorstep. Whatever your decision is, this uncertainty is not healthy. People, businesses, and community can not make plans around uncertainty, so we look forward to its end.”

The BCUC is hosting three more meetings in Vancouver, Victoria, and Nanaimo before it is due to deliver its final report on Site C on November 1st.

Report an error

Read our guiding principles

Thanks for reading!

This holiday season, we want to give back to the people who have supported us this year!

We have partnered with local businesses to create an $800 Shopping Spree Giveaway! One of our Supporters will win the giveaway on December 2 and anyone who becomes one by December 1 will be entered to win as well.

More stories you might like