MOBERLY LAKE, B.C – West Moberly First Nations continues its fight against Site C, urging for the Province to suspend work at the dam.
In a statement on January 15th, the band claims the long-awaited Site C report fails to identify safe options to complete the dam.
During a press conference on Thursday, Premier John Horgan said the Province is bringing in two international consultants to assist in the report conducted by Peter Milburn.
This was due to Milburn “not having the capacity to address the safety challenges that could emerge due to geotechnical issues that have arisen”.
As a result of the conference, West Moberly calls on Horgan to halt all work at the dam immediately.
Chief Roland Willson believes hiring more consultants shows Horgan has lost faith in BC Hydro to build the dam safely.
Horgan mentioned the reports would be released to the public once received by the additional consultants.
“Before we release information to the public, we want to make sure we have all of the details, we do not want to be at half measure at a point a critical point in a large project,” said Horgan.
Horgan admitted that the dam’s closure wouldn’t be ‘unprecedented’ but stated he wouldn’t suspend work or additional spending while waiting for the reports.
“How many more billions will he sink into this dam without knowing if it can even be finished?” said Chief Willson.
“If they decide to let BC Hydro continue building it, would you want to be living in the area? Would you want to go to sleep worrying that you’ll wake up after the foundation has cracked and the dam has burst?”
According to the release, a 120-day trial starts in March 2022 as West Moberly is suing the Province, BC Hydro and Canada over the project.
The community alleges Site C violates constitutionally protected rights under Treaty No. 8, which guarantees the First Nations right to hunt, fish, trap and other traditions without interference.
If the trial favours West Moberly, the court will be asked to order a permanent work stoppage and full reclamation of the site to its natural state.
“However, if the project has not been suspended until that time, two and a half more years and approximately $3 billion of additional public expenditures will have been wasted,” said the release.
The First Nations hired independent hydrologists in 2015 that reported BC Hydro failed to “adequately model the groundwater regime at the dam site, particularly on the south bank.” Additionally, the report warned of potential dam failure and recommended water pressure monitoring devices be implemented
Site C’s budget in April 2018 was estimated at $10.7 billion. It included reserve and contingency funds of $1.5 billion. Construction on the project began in summer 2015.
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