FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The province has shaken up the Site C Project Assurance Board, following guidance from an independent review.

The new board follows Peter Milburn’s independent review of the dam, which included 17 recommendations to improve the management and oversight.

“The purpose of the board is to provide independent due diligence and oversight of the Site C Project to ensure it is completed safely within the lowest cost and approved schedule,” Said BC Hydro in a statement Friday.

Milburn, who was appointed to conduct the report in July 2020, is a former B.C. government bureaucrat with a background in civil engineering.

Milburn reviewed project governance and management of risks, construction, contracts and claims handling. His report, which did not audit costs or the schedule, provided 17 recommendations, including a restructured and strengthened Project Assurance Board.

The 10 members of the new Project Assurance Board follows:

The majority of members are independent external advisors with expertise in capital project construction and management, delivery of major civil projects, commercial negotiations, construction-related claims settlement and other areas.

BC Hydro hopes the changes will strengthen the overall skill set of the board, ensuring independent advice is provided to the government and BC Hydro board of directors.

Milburn’s report conducted last year was released to the public in February. In addition, the province brought in two international experts in January to evaluate the site for safety issues after Premier John Horgan said Milburn didn’t have the capacity to address the challenges that resulted due to geotechnical issues.

The two independent engineering experts, John France and Dr. Kaare Hoeg, examined the design of the right bank foundation enhancements and earthfill dam. The duo concluded the dam would be safe and reliable, meeting Canadian Dam Association guidelines.

Premier John Horgan extended the timeline on the project by a year and estimated the cost at $16 billion.

In 2014, Site C’s construction was approved for $8.7 billion and was revised to $10.7 billion in 2018. The province says the new cost increase is due to COVID-19, geotechnical issues, other related codes, and schedule pressures.