One would hope that with a budget of over $9 billion dollars and a long list of critics and opponents, the bigwigs over at BC Hydro would be on top of every little thing happening at Site C, in order to avoid any unnecessary scrutiny.
However, yet again a public complaint is helping to hold the crown corporation and their contractors to account when it comes to compliance with environmental infractions at the dam site.
Strangely, this is nothing new.
Since the dam began clearing and construction, concerned locals have been watching the site closely and making calls to both DFO and the environmental assessment office about infractions at the site – often to no avail – until I have followed up by publishing photos showing non-compliance.
So concerned by the lack of attention given locals complaints, at one point last year I phoned both DFO (response in post) and the EAO officer ( Chris Parks, who did not return my call) at one point to talk about the photos I posted here showing the silt flow clearly down the river. https://lailayuile.com/2016/02/10/more-questions-raised-about-site-c-construction-compliance-with-provincial-and-federal-fisherieswater-regulations/
A non-compliance order was finally issued in April, despite ongoing complaints since October of 2015 and remarkably, the Site C rep even tried to spin it as a sign that the system was working (??) http://www.alaskahighwaynews.ca/regional-news/site-c/site-c-breaches-environmental-conditions-failed-to-control-sediment-in-river-1.2227512
Then, on July 21st, 2016 I posted these photos : https://lailayuile.com/2016/07/21/site-c-aerial-photos-show-mess-of-dikeswater-and-slides/
And again, this post of August 28th, posted only two days before the Environmental Assessment Office inspection of the site, asking why no one else was asking any questions: https://lailayuile.com/2016/08/29/questions-continue-on-the-north-slope-failures-at-site-c-and-why-no-one-else-seems-to-be-asking-any-questions/
However, it was yet another post I published on September 21st, with new photos showing extensive cracking, dangerous conditions and yet again, another heavy sediment flow in the Peace River, that had federal politicians from both the NDP and the Liberal Party of Canada getting in touch with me… and both DFO and the environmental assessment office running.. https://lailayuile.com/2016/09/21/new-site-c-photos-show-continued-mitigation-efforts-on-slide-prone-north-slope-construction/
7 days later, a high level meeting occurred in Vancouver, as detailed in this report by Larry Pynn of the Vancouver Sun:
The inspection record was posted Dec. 23, based on inspections conducted Aug. 30 to Sept. 1 under the signature of compliance and enforcement officer Alex McLean. The high-level meeting occurred Sept. 28, and included O’Riley and Site C project director Diane McSherry.
The EAO was represented by associate deputy minister Kevin Jardine, executive director Paul Craven, and senior compliance and enforcement officer Chris Parks.
On Dec. 22, Hydro also posted two enforcement orders for Hydro’s failure to monitor water quality in potentially affected wells and failure to protect amphibians.
I can only imagine the phone calls at BC Hydro following that post…
How could this happen? Site C had just undergone an inspection August 30th to September 1st ( this was not yet public) and here I post more photos showing more of the same infractions not even a month later. Priceless.
It’s worthy to note as well, that the complaint that resulted in those last enforcement orders regarding wells, was also submitted by a citizen.
Can anyone explain to me why the biggest mega project ever undertaken in BC history is being kept accountable by citizen oversight? Because it isn’t inspectors flying over taking photos of silt flowing in the water. It’s residents. And they find their way to me to show all of you what is not being taken care of and up until now, reported on very minimally.
And the irony of hiring SNC Lavalin being hired to solve erosion issues that aren’t new, or unknown to the government? Laughable.
It matters because it shows the system that’s set up really isn’t working and if they think they can get away with it, they will.
Like developers who happily pay fines in Surrey for cutting down large trees and consider it the cost of business. I believe BC Hydro has been fine with letting things slide ( no pun intended) hoping no one would be the wiser. because their actions do not match the words being repeated often by their project flak.
Which brings me to my next bit of business, this opinion editorial written by BC Hydro ceo Jessica Mcdonald- please take a moment to read it and come back : http://www.alaskahighwaynews.ca/regional-news/site-c/take-the-long-view-on-b-c-s-energy-needs-1.6037601
Longtime area resident and businessman Bob Fedderly had a few things to say about her piece and fired off an email to her, which I share with you here.
Hello Ms. McDonald
I am unsure if you have received email from me at the above address or not as I have not received a response from you. If I have the wrong address, please advise as I look forward to hearing from you.
Regarding your piece from Jan. 2 2017 a few items you mention need to be addressed:
-your stated employment numbers do not coincide with the numbers of vehicles in the parking lot at the camp, worker counts on buses/aircraft, or machines requiring operators on site, based on equipment supplier counts. Site office personnel counts are limited by space, which is limited. Entry/exit counts as well are not supportive. Prior to claiming that the project is the saviour of the Northeast job market, an audit of your information should be done. A trio of natural gas pipeline projects in the region will be employing more people this winter than the Site C dam project, while offering better pay and benefits, helping to move clean, cheap BC produced natural gas to onshore export markets.
– It is undeniable that certain commodity prices are seeing small price increases. As you are likely aware the large Hawaiian LNG supply arrangement with FortisBC has evaporated and the logistics of getting gas to the Woodfibre site (excessive cost of micro-tunneling a mountain, etc.) may shelve that project.
-the City of Vancouver wasn’t heard refusing landfill gas or methane derived from anaerobic sewage digesters, that should be used in areas of dense population and intensive livestock production, and are considered “renewable”.
-Plenty of” post-truth” is coming from the communications people within your organization and the current BC government, when they pick partial comments by Joint Review Panel members and documents from that process. The whole story is the project is unaffordable and if you choose to quote Harry Swain, “the economics are awful”. There is a reason there is no trust and acceptance of this project, but it is not because the public is being misled by project opponents, who have no large communications departments and PR firms being paid with taxpayer/ratepayer funds. The fact a productive valley with huge agricultural value will be lost cannot be denied.
-Courts will decide, most certainly, and going forward with this project in light of that should net a contempt of court charge. Claiming narrow technical wins as monumental victories is a tactic used by those who would marginalize their opponents, as is the use of SLAPP suits. And yes, it is fortunate Canada is different, as we see how groups have recently stopped projects like yours, without “social license” from proceeding.
Stopping Site C will happen with graphs and spread sheets rather than military intervention as more people understand the “long game” of a 70 year payout on a money losing piece of unnecessary, outdated infrastructure. Voters can understand cutting their losses at $2 Billion rather than spending$10 to $20 Billion to confirm they have a Muskrat Falls disaster on their hands, complete with the huge rate increases. CEO’s of companies accountable to their shareholders, rather than political masters do as well.
-as more of BC’s population looks to alternatives like wind, geothermal and solar with our legacy of 98% “clean” power, they will realize that in the two years that BC Hydro has spent trying to justify a new dam, they could have installed new more efficient technology with near zero emissions at Burrard Thermal with the same or more capacity for a fifth of the forecasted price of Site C. A price forecast that when investigated will yield huge cost increases for dealing with geotechnical issues and water management due to high river flows necessary to keep the Williston reservoir at safe enough levels to protect the ailing WAC Bennett dam.
-as a ratepayer I am not sure it is the job of the CEO of a publicly owned utility to be offering politically motivated opinions, especially in advance of an election. Following the path of your escalation to this position, we are sure that what was offered in this piece was exactly that and indeed voters/ratepayers need to keep their eye on the “long game” bankruptcy that is happening at BC Hydro.
Every story I do has a heart, and soul. Those forces of know keeping tabs on Site C with us, are the steady strong beat behind this one. And they’ll be here long after this premier and Hydro ceo have moved on.
Give them a round of applause.
Breaking news late Thursday Jan 5. Imagine this. After all those warnings, after the flights to the site and the big meeting in Vancouver…..the site is once again found to be breaking rules and in non-compliance.Like I said above….they just don’t care.Cutting corners when no one is looking: http://vancouversun.com/business/local-business/bc-hydro-facing-federal-order-heavy-fines-for-site-c-sediment-and-erosion-problems
BC Hydro is facing a federal order as early as Friday and potential fines of up to $400,000 due to erosion and sediment problems at the $9-billion Site C dam project in the province’s northeast.
The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency has issued Hydro with a “notice of intent” to proceed with enforcement action unless the provincial Crown corporation provides assurances that problems are being addressed.
Based on Hydro’s response, the federal agency may amend, rescind or issue the order, which carries potential maximum summary fines of $200,000 on first offence and $400,000 on subsequent offences. The fines can apply for every day that Hydro is not in compliance with the environmental conditions authorizing the project.
In the federal documents, senior enforcement officer Nicolas Courville stated that the 1,100-megawatt Site C project was inspected on Nov. 29 to Dec. 2, 2016, at three sites — Moberly River construction bridge, right bank drainage tunnel, and right bank cofferdam.
The inspection discovered there were “no erosion and sediment contingency supplies located within the laydown or work areas” of the sites as required by the three Environmental Protection Plans. Hydro referred inspectors to a central contingency supplies site, but it was deemed inadequate for one site, much less all three, the documents read.
Hydro released a copy of its letter late Thursday, but Ottawa’s response to it is not yet known.
Greg Scarborough, manager of environmental compliance for Site C, writes that Hydro is “very concerned” about the federal inspection findings and “has implemented measures to return into compliance.”
Hydro is providing a long list of contingency supplies at the project, including silt fencing with stakes, crushed gravel, sand bags, weed-free straw bales, flagging tape, plastic sheeting, and geotextile fabrics.