BUICK CREEK, B.C. – The timeline for completion and the budget for the Site C hydroelectric project could be at risk following a court victory by the Blueberry River First Nations (BRFN) in June, whose Treaty rights were found to have been infringed upon.
The judge ordered a halt to all industrial development on traditional Blueberry River First Nations land, pending further consultations between industry and the First Nation.
The BC Hydro project sits on the traditional territory of the BRFN, and BC Hydro made mention of the possibility of future changes to the regulatory regime.
“On the Site C Project, BC Hydro continues to consult with Blueberry River First Nations and all Treaty 8 Nations and remains open to negotiating an Impact Benefit Agreement with Blueberry River First Nations,” reads BC Hydro’s Quarterly Progress Report.
BC Hydro was optimistic in its assessment of the impacts to the Site C Project as a result of the “Blueberry Decision.”
“Although BC Hydro believes that the Blueberry Decision should not affect the issuance of permits because the Project is approved and under construction, there remains the possibility that the timing of the issuance of provincial permits required for the completion of the Project may be affected.”
While Site C has been under construction for five years now, there are still around 100 permits required for completion, which BC Hydro has not acquired yet. Some of those permits are through the Province, and others are through the federal government.
Both the Province and BRFN say they are in the process of contacting other Treaty 8 Nations to make sure they are part of the development of a new approach to industrial development in Treaty 8 territory.