MOBERLY LAKE, B.C. – A First Nations leader is calling on the British Columbia government to release several reports on the Site C dam, claiming details of escalating costs and safety concerns have been “shrouded in secrecy”.
In an open letter to Premier John Horgan, Chief Roland Willson of the West Moberly First Nations says work on the hydroelectric dam in northeastern B.C. should be suspended immediately until cabinet makes a decision on the project.
Willson says BC Hydro has withheld its two latest progress reports from regulators and the premier has refused to release a report prepared by special advisor Peter Milburn.
The B.C. government and BC Hydro did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Willson says if the reports aren’t made public voluntarily, the First Nation will seek their release through court action.
BC Hydro reported to the B.C. Utilities Commission in July that geotechnical problems found in late 2019 had created a “project risk,” requiring stability measures to be taken on the right bank of the dam.
The B.C. government appointed Milburn, a former deputy finance minister, in July to review the project and Energy Minister Bruce Ralston said this month he wouldn’t discuss its findings until they are reviewed by the premier and cabinet.
Willson said in an interview that the hydroelectric dam is an unnecessary infringement of the First Nation’s treaty rights and he doesn’t believe the community’s concerns have been taken seriously.
“It’s a shame we’re at this stage. We should have never gotten this far down the road. We should have sat at the table like adults,” Willson said.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published on Jan. 25, 2021.