When it comes to Site C, I’ve written about it off and on for five years on this blog and have covered several columns on it while debating Brent Stafford in my Duel column for 24Hours Vancouver.
It’s a project that definitely has an emotional angle because it involves the loss of homes, of livelihoods, of generation of history and fertile grounds used for hunting,fishing and agriculture.
It’s also a project that has very questionable financial and political angles, because unlike other projects, the current BC government exempted Site C from the usual regulatory review by the BC Utilities Commission under the Clean Energy Act. Nor has it undergone a review by the ALR Commssion.
People have often asked what the BC Utilities Commission is and why this matters, so I’ll share this from their site: http://www.bcuc.com/CorpProfile.aspx
The Commission’s mission is to ensure that ratepayers receive safe, reliable, and nondiscriminatory energy services at fair rates from the utilities it regulates, and that shareholders of those utilities are afforded a reasonable opportunity to earn a fair return on their invested capital.
The Commission also reviews energy-related matters referred to it by Cabinet. These inquiries usually involve public hearings, followed by a report and recommendations to Cabinet.
In the case of Site C, British Columbians who pay dearly already on their hydro bills, will not have that assurance that the project is appropriate or how it will impact ratepayers in the province. Long story short, we could all potentially see our hydro rates go up,a fertile lush valley flooded and one of BC’s heritage rivers changed even more than it has already by the other dams.
The Union of BC Municipalities, ( UBCM) recently passed a resolution at their annual meeting,calling on the province and BC Hydro to stand down on the construction work already underway on Site C, to allow a review by the BC Utilities Commission and the ALR Commission.
BC Hydro has claimed any delay will cost taxpayers $500 million dollars.But I said, and still say, that not building it at all, will save us more than $8 billion dollars.
Why won’t the premier, who speaks often of fiscal restraint, of the need to be careful with taxpayers money (cough cough), give British Columbians the chance to see if the BC Utilities Commission would approve a project they have already turned down once?
Minister of Energy and Mines ‘Kootenay’ Bill Bennett summed it best perhaps in a news report once:
Yes that pesky little thing called regulation. So of course this project was exempted.
If you haven’t been to the Peace River region, let me put a face to it for you.
Meet some of the landowners and residents whose lives and lands will be affected by Site C. Some of them, will see their homes destroyed. Look at their photos, read their stories and ask why they too, will not see due process.
These people are preparing for winter right now, in an area that is rich in agriculture and able to grow even watermelons!
Site C crews have now already cleared an island in the river. Work camps are being planned. This isn’t getting the coverage it should and it matters because it is not only the provincial government that can expropriate your land and livelihood,it happens down here on the coast too.
The issue of Site C will be debated in the Legislature tomorrow and a rally will be held outside – if you can attend, you might consider giving your support. I would be there if I could. The BC government and BC Hydro need to call an immediate halt,regardless of the short term cost. When it comes to a project like this,government needs to ensure they aren’t making a big mistake-right now, we really don’t know to be honest. But why would anyone want to take that chance?
Let the BCUC and the ALC do their jobs and review this project.
Details at the following link:
**This is also, very much an issue for Election 2015. Why did the federal government ministers invoke cabinet privilege,to keep the reasons for supporting Site C, secret? An alarming read from late August,when few were paying attention.
16 thoughts on “Site C to be debated in BC Legislature today (Sept.30th),rally against the project to be held outside.”
What type,of debate is there ever with libs in Victoria. They always do as they want. Something doesn’t go their way they change the goalposts. They have made a mockery of any environmental process. Site C is an ecocide.
Thank you for bringing this critical issue to the attention of all British Columbians Laila. Our hydro rates are already going up 28% by 2018, after which time the government says it will ask the BCUC to determine the subsequent hikes .
Additionally, Site C costs will not be recovered from the public until the dam is up and running – approximately 2024. So we are looking at significant rate hikes.
This is unfortunate as many experts, including Robert McCullough, who was instrumental in blowing the whistle on Enron, has stated that BC Hydro is using outdated information to compare Site C to alternatives. Mr. McCullough states that Site C is 2 to 3 times more expensive than a mix of alternatives.
Economist Erik Andersen has argued that BC Hydro consistently overprojects our energy demands and strongly questions the need for such a vast amount of energy from a single development like Site C; arguing that if and when the energy is proven to be needed, a range of less destructive and less expensive alternatives should be considered.
Site C makes no sense on so many levels. Let’s hope the people of BC convince the government to put a stop to this completely unnecessary project once and for all!
Raising more alarm bells, is this – most people missed this in the silly season of late summer/back to school.
Why did the federal cabinet invoke privilege to keep their reasons for support of Site C, secret?
This is a officially an election issue for British Columbians now as well. When the federal government can keep their reasons secret, when the provincial government can completely remove regulatory review and oversight from this project, things have gone terribly wrong.
British Columbians need to step up and see how this is being rammed through, and as Andrea states, we are all going to pay dearly.
I’ve ranted and wailed against this project before, based on my idea of common sense and the small amount of information supporting this stupid idea. Even Bill Bennett is only following his marching orders. From whom? Who gave him his marching orders. Chrispy may have a 12 year jump on a kindergarten education, but that doesn’t equate to a 12 year advantage in intelligence.
The $500 million ‘cost to taxpayer’ will not be a result of delay, it will be the cost to cancel contracts and remediate the damage done. Still a lot cheaper than the +$9 Billion to build this white elephant. Fire up the spare capacity at Mica, develop geothermal, support renewables, use natural gas (apparently we have an abundance),but DON’T BUILD SITE C!
Defeatist, no. Realist, yes. Too late, this government with its tunnel vision will go ahead with the Site C project, come hell or high water. The construction will have commenced prior to the next Provincial election which is slowly creeping up on us, in fact it has already began. Research as to who are the beneficial contract agencies will be interesting. As usual, follow the money. Having said this, make no mistake, I am completely against this project. The loss of agricultural lands accompanied by the fact that California is not producing at the historical capacity. Along with the realization that Global warming is a fact of life which will further compliment the crop production of the Peace. All this will be lost to an un-needed artificial lake and power producer.
Sept 24, 2013 news release from Bennett …..“I’ve formally requested my Cabinet colleagues to submit bold ideas to the Core Review process to help government control spending and ensure the best possible use of government resources. I look forward to working with my colleagues to identify programs, services and agencies that require direction and change to protect the best interests of taxpayers.”
It escapes me how he can, with a straight face, keep approving IPP’s like Narrows Inlet on the Sunshine Coast (that are not even finished the final design) and pursue Site C at the same time. We are forced to pay 3 times the market rate for this IPP power in order for profits to leave the province for an Alberta company and the Ontario Teachers Pension fund. So not only are we paying the IPP’s, we are paying a huge amount of money for Site C that they say is needed. Just how much is needed? The IPP can only make power at times of the year Site C would be spilling excess. Bennett and Polak will not rest until our entire province is impacted environmentally, they are not happy with wrecking just one place. Bennett and Christy will not rest until all the money leaves so they can say “BC Hydro no good”.
Speaking to expropriation, the recent changes made by our BC Liberals state
A water licence entitles its holder the right to:
Expropriate any privately owned land reasonably required for the construction, maintenance, improvement or operation of the works authorized under a licence or for flooding.
Expropriate any land necessary to help prevent pollution of the diverted water if the licence authorizes the use and diversion of water for domestic or waterworks purposes.
And breaking news. Christy Clark has appointed Brad Bennett,grandson of WAC Bennett,as chair of BC Hydro.
well….don’t quite know what to make of that…..on one hand, does he understand the legacy that got him where is his today is being decimated?….on the other hand, what influence will his day job have in decisions?
this from the news release…
Brad Bennett is president of McIntosh Properties Ltd, a real estate and private equity investment company.
must be a mistype as the references to his power company and associated infrastructure experience are missing…..
This whole project is being done by the Premier’s bidding, solely to bolster up the rapidly disappearing LNG industry. A Premier who made ridiculous, boastful pledges of a prosperity fund that has no hope of ever happening, but she won’t let go of the fantasy at the province’s expense.
10 billion for unneeeded dam, little for BC foodbanks.?
Sorry this isn’t directly related to this story, however the reason is.
With the federal election coming up in less than three weeks, people need to make a decision that will have serious implications.
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[…] * * * * * Be sure to read Laila Yuile’s item: Site C to be debated in BC Legislature tomorrow, rally against the project to be held outside. […]
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