FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – BC Hydro released its Site C quarterly report on Monday, covering the period of January 1st to March 31st, 2021.

A number of challenges have affected the project cost and schedule, including the COVID-19 pandemic, cost pressures and the “geotechnical issues on the right bank.”

According to the report, COVID-19 presented the most significant challenge, as the implementation of new health orders to restart work in January 2021 added incremental costs to complete work.

“Starting from a reduced number of onsite workers in January 2021, BC Hydro was able to ramp up gradually throughout the first few months of the year,” said the report.

The second challenge noted in the report was the issues on the right bank, where “significant foundation enhancements were required” to increase the stability.

“During the quarter, independent dam experts confirmed BC Hydro’s proposed foundation enhancements solution is appropriate and sound, and will make the right bank structures safe and serviceable over the long operating life of Site C,” reads the report.

The final challenge brought up in the report highlights ongoing cost pressures.

“Prior to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the project was already managing significant financial pressures; the pandemic-related costs and delays and the need for foundation enhancements have added to these cost and schedule pressures.”

The B.C. government announced the revised cost estimate to complete Site C on February 26th at $16 billion, carrying with it a new in-service date of 2025. The price tag was $10.7 billion when the NDP government decided to move forward with the project in 2017.

“COVID-19 is the single largest contributor to the cost increase, followed by the additional costs for foundation enhancement measures, and other cost pressures.”

Most of the $5.3 billion added to the project cost comes from a $3.71 billion jump in the cost of the dam, power facilities, and associated structures and transmission.

Another $1.05 billion was added for more off-site construction, worker accommodation, services and supervision.

An extra $626 million was added to the budget for mitigation, compensation, engineering, regulatory and management costs. Finally, $743 million comes from interest payments.

Due to the increased cost and schedule delays that were not reflected in the schedule in the previous report, the Project Status Dashboard shows the overall project health, schedule, and cost as “at risk.”

Safety considerations, project scope, Indigenous Relations and litigation have listed moderate issues.

Based on the current expected schedule, the following activities are planned for the next six months, from April to September 2021: