Site C work camp construction nears completion in April 2016. Called Two Rivers Lodge, the camp cost $470 million to build and operate and is a self-contained community with an 800-seat dining room, hair salon, gym, movie theatre and private room accommodations. (B.C. Hydro)

Environmental groups slam NDP decision to continue with Site C

Construction industry, meanwhile, is cautiously optimistic about how the project will look

Environmental groups denounced Premier John Horgan as he announced Monday the province would continue to build the Site C dam.

The Wilderness Committee told Black Press they were “massively disappointed” with what they called the NDP’s “flip-flopping” on the now-$10.7-billion northern B.C. megaproject.

“We can only come to the conclusion that Horgan was lobbied extensively by some of the construction unions,” said national campaign director Joe Foy.

READ: Site C dam goes ahead, cost estimate now up to $10.7 billion

According to the organization, the Site C dam could flood 83 kilometres of the Peace River from near Fort St. John upstream to Hudson’s Hope, contaminating fish stocks, and remove farmland from the Agricultural Land Reserve.

Foy took issue with the province’s claim that it would have cost $4 billion to halt the project, as well as Horgan’s stance that that money could not be paid back over time.

“We believe that is grossly overestimated,” he said. “All that dam can do, unlike the hole in the ground which just sits there, is lose us hundreds of millions of dollars every year it operates.”

He said the NDP’s decision could change B.C.’s political landscape as NDP voters who may feel betrayed move away from the party. Horgan had campaigned earlier this year on a promise to review, not kill, the dam, but he had criticized the BC Liberals’ approach to the project in the past.

More lawsuits expected

Court challenges, Foy said, are likely coming both from environmental and First Nations groups.

“I think rolling over First Nations in this way is unacceptable,” he said. “I think we will begin to see the effects of protests.”

Amnesty International called Horgan’s decision “a blatant betrayal of his government’s commitments to uphold the rights of Indigenous peoples.”

The group called foul on the province’s claim that it was too late to stop the project and said the West Moberly and Prophet River First Nations will continue their legal efforts.

‘We are relieved’

Meanwhile, the Independent Contractors and Businesses Association celebrated the thousands of jobs they believe will be kept and created by continuing work on Site C.

Spokesperson Jordan Bateman said all the extra time the NDP government took to have the dam reviewed was unnecessary, only to have Horgan ultimately go forward.

READ: BC Utilities Commission completes Site C report

Bateman said he also doesn’t buy the province’s new $10.7-billion estimated price tag. When it was approved by the then-Liberal government in 2014, the project was estimated at $8.8 billion.

“You have one analysis done in six weeks that says it could run over budget,” he said. “Frankly, the overruns that the NDP are planning for here are going to be caused by the NDP.”


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The Mountain Market showcases local goods

The Mountain Market is held each Sunday morning in Fernie’s Rotary Park

Summer races kick off at Fernie Alpine Resort

FAR jumps into their summer programming with mountain biking and trail running races

Summer Stories Around Town program encourages outdoor reading in Elk Valley

With storywalks and clothesline stories in Fernie and Sparwood, everyone can get reading

School District 5 identifies funding needs in yearly budget report

The SD5 board presented three main projects that need increased funding in the coming years

From baseball stars to forest fires: Southeast Fire Centre water bomber has an interesting past

Tanker 489 is stationed in Castlegar this year, but in the 1960s it belonged to the L.A. Dodgers.

Amber Alert for two Quebec girls cancelled after bodies found

Romy Carpentier, 6, Norah Carpentier, 11, and their father, Martin Carpentier, missing since Wednesday

B.C. man prepares to be first to receive double-hand transplant in Canada

After the surgery, transplant patients face a long recovery

Grocers appear before MPs to explain decision to cut pandemic pay

Executives from three of Canada’s largest grocery chains have defended their decision to end temporary wage increases

Bringing support to Indigenous students and communities, while fulfilling a dream

Mitacs is a nonprofit organization that operates research and training programs

RCMP ‘disappointed’ by talk that race a factor in quiet Rideau Hall arrest

Corey Hurren, who is from Manitoba, is facing 22 charges

NHL’s Canadian hubs offer little economic benefit, but morale boost is valuable: experts

Games are slated to start Aug. 1 with six Canadian teams qualifying for the 24-team resumption of play

‘Made in the Cowichan Valley’ coming to a wine bottle near you

Cowichan Valley has the honour of being the first sub-GI outside of the Okanagan

VIDEO: Vancouver Island cat missing 18 months reunited with family

Blue the cat found at Victoria museum 17 kilometres from home

Most Read