More details from new pics on north Bank of Site C

The Peace got a break from the rainstorms of late and I have some new pics today to follow up on last weeks photo post, that are showing a bit more detail on erosion areas now that the bank is a bit drier on the surface. Its clear there is erosion, washouts, and gullies to varying degrees all over the slope.

When you zoom in, you can see a lot of failure spots in the gravel seam just above the diversion inlet portal. If that fails, the next layer above is clay and will come down. As there is forecast rain still ahead – and the rain that’s been falling has often come in heavy downbursts – there will be more cutting in and erosion in these areas.

How much is the continual mitigation of historically well known geotechnical issues in this area of the valley costing us? And I say ‘us’ because we are all going to pay for this in one manner or another.

In 2011 the cost estimate for Site C was pegged at $7.9 billion.

In 2014 that was bumped up to $8.3 billion

In 2017 when Horgan and his caucus announced their decision to continue the project that has been plagued with delays, ongoing geotechnical problems, redesigns and lawsuits, that cost had already escalated to a ridiculous $10.7 billion.

However, in 2018, an affidavit filed in Supreme Court as a result of the Treaty infringement case  brought to light some questions about who knew costs were escalating and when they knew them in relation to that decision. 

It also revealed that costs could escalate upwards to $12 billion….as detailed by Deloitte.

“The question that comes to mind is: what did BC Hydro know and when did it know it?

Unpacking Site C’s escalating cost overruns in nail-biting detail, Eliesen quotes from statements that BC Hydro made to the B.C. Utilities Commission (BCUC) on August 30 that Site C was “on time and on budget,” and would cost $8.335 billion.

Just thirty-five days later, the affidavit notes that Chris O’Riley, BC Hydro’s president and chief operating officer, informed the BCUC that BC Hydro had encountered some “geological and construction challenges” and the project’s cost had climbed by $610 million — due to a one-year delay in meeting a scheduled diversion of the Peace River to build the dam structure.

At the same time, O’Riley informed the commission that Site C’s $440 million Treasury Board reserve had been exceeded by $170 million. That placed Site C’s revised price tag at close to $9 billion, only two years into a nine or ten-year construction project.

“It is my expert opinion that BC Hydro knew, or should have known, when the August 30threport was submitted to the BCUC, that the costs for the project were going to be higher than disclosed,” Eliesen says in his affidavit.

“If BC Hydro knew the costs were reasonably likely to be higher than disclosed, they violated their obligation to the commission to be fully transparent and support the commission’s inquiry. If BC Hydro honestly did not know at the time the August 30 filing took place that costs would escalate, then BC Hydro was not competently managing its project as it claimed.”

Eliesen, who is also the former chair and CEO of Ontario Hydro and the Manitoba Energy Authority, points out that O’Riley subsequently told the BCUC that “nothing has occurred that would suggest to us that we are facing the type of large overruns” speculated in a September 2017 report by Deloitte LLP, one of Canada’s leading auditing firms.

Deloitte concluded that Site C’s price tag could exceed $10 billion and might reach as high as $12.5 billion.

Yet less than two months after O’Riley’s statement, Premier John Horgan announced that Site C’s capital costs had escalated by another $2 billion, or 20 per cent.

Horgan set Site C’s new price tag at $10.7 billion when he said in December that the project would proceed, claiming it was past “the point of no return,” an assertion disputed by project financing experts.

“A paucity of information has been provided as to what has driven the additional $2 billion in project costs,” notes Eliesen.

“Clearly, the budget revision exercise that took place in November determined that the additional $2 billion in cost was warranted, while on October 14, 2017, Mr. O’Riley told the Commission that there would be no further budget increases.”

“Either BC Hydro knew, or should have known, about the looming budget increases related to future contracts.”


That story by Narwhal will continue to br something to remember as this project continues, because the lack of transparency with respect to detailed costs is still an issue.

BC Hydro is required to report to the BC Utilities Commission every quarter on the progress of site c. You can find those reports right here:

The last report filed covered the period from January 2019 to end of March 2019 – we are still awaiting the most recent report that will cover April to June 2019. However in reading the Jan to March report, its clear the risk for this project to continue to escalate in costs is still very high, and in my assessment of the ongoing reports, very likely.

You can read that full report in PDF format at this link:

While Hydro lists two small tables giving a vague overview of costs ( actual expenditures for 2019 have increased as opposed to what was forecast ), Appendixes C,D,and E that cover contracts over $10 million, Project Progress and Detailed Project Expenditure have all been redacted.. and it was only just last January that BC Hydro fought in court, to keep Site C expenditures a secret from the public. 

This is unacceptable and something that the NDP correctly criticized the BC Liberals for when they were in opposition. Everything was a secret. Contracts, once issued, no longer need to be secret. No one else is building a dam in slide prone valley anywhere else in BC, what competitors are they worried about?

Expenditures and project progress shouldn’t be secret either. Perhaps if they had been, past public projects could have been prevented from going grossly over budget. There is absolutely no reason those expenditures should be hidden from public.

My most recent post with the first set of photos, brought Site C back into active discussion again, and has been shared extensively online…particularly since the NDP announced a hefty surplus on the budget.

It’s been suggested that with the changes the NDP have made ,and a surplus announced, that now is the best time to walk away from Site C.  Lindsay Brown has posted some excellent points on twitter that really need to be addressed, like the fact that the Clean Energy Act that exempted Site C from BCUC review, still hasn’t had the section amended that would prevent another Site C from happening again. That was something Auditor General Carol Bellringer nudged the NDP about last year,, because as John Horgan once said back while he was energy critic, the act still allows politicians to make decisions around the cabinet table, instead of having the BCUC make decisions and take oversight as it was created to do.

 I would certainly be concerned that other projects considered ‘clean’ might also end up exempted from BCUC review too… just because they can.

There are also concerns about the Auditor General removing the qualification  on BC Hydros statements, when full oversight of Hydro by the BCUC still hasnt occurred.

It’s time to get serious about all of this. And I totally get that many would rather I just shut up “because BC Liberals”, but guess what?

I don’t want to ever see this happen to another community, clean energy or not. Politicians have no right making decisions that the BC Utilities Commission was created to make.

Horgan and his caucus should never have been allowed to make the decision of continuing the dam or not, when the ultimate cost could reach $12 billion,First Nations are impacted forever, and a unique valley ecosystem is lost forever.

(Horgan and his caucus should  also never have been allowed to exempt health impacts of fracking  from their review that detailed unknown risks because data and monitoring of water and wells was insufficient.  I mention this because site C power may end up powering LNG ) 

Future ratepayers will feel the pain of the increased hydro rates from this white elephant. You and I will bot pay more, while any industrial customers will continue to pay less, because we already know that the NDP will continue to subsidize corporate entities involved with LNG development and gas extraction, because ‘jobs’. I don’t discount the need for good trades work. I do however think there are other projects more worthy that wont involve making foreign corporations profits bigger while our resource royalties drop even more.

No amount of positive action on other files gives the NDP a free pass on LNG, site C or the way they have abandoned everyone dealing with troubling health issues who are living in the gas fields. Read this. And then read every link I have added to this post, and you’ll see why it matters.  

Rare cancers. Lung diseases. Should I go on?

I can’t help but think of Erin Brockovich and her fights,  when I think of the how this government exempted the health impacts from the fracking review. I read an article once where she said that she was an advocate for awareness and a persons right to know, because in the absence of truth or knowledge, we all stand helpless to defend ourselves, our families and our health. That’s how I feel about all of this. Site C. Fracking. Shawnigan Lake. It’s starting to add up…and I don’t like the picture it paints. If we don’t know the truth, if we don’t know what’s going on, we can’t fight it effectively.

So what do you do?

Demand better.

Demand answers, demand better policy, and pay attention. Ask for meetings. Ask for the data they used to make their decisions… Because it might be your backyard next time, on a different issue. And who will fight for you then?


** Bob Mackin of Breaker News had some interesting tweets sent onto me last night. BC Hydro is still keeping secrets….


23 thoughts on “More details from new pics on north Bank of Site C

    1. Thank you Bill. 🙂 The common thread in many of these stories that started under the BC Liberals that the NDP opposed or criticized in opposition, are now being handled in a manner not unlike the Liberals. Kind of like the NDP and teachers right now…🙄

      It also needs to be said that many are questioning why some enviro groups didnt oppose Site C or LNG as much as they might have. Particularly now under the ndp. It’s been suggested that some dont want to bite the hand thats fed them in terms of donations and funding.

      It really is up to us, each of us, to hold every government to account regardless. We cant count on anyone to do this for us. Truly, no one can sit and say ” Its not my issue” or ” It doesnt impact me”

      It is your issue and it will impact you one way or another, because the policy that allowed these things to happen elsewhere, can allow it to happen wherever you are.


  1. Right on Laila. Everything you said is right on. The hypocrisy is right out of this world that not only involves politics, but environmental circles as well. Not to mention the out and out blatant lying to save ones political career for a high ranking position in the the inner circle of government power. None other than Nelson Creston MLA Michelle Mungal. My god, no one can beat that kind of nasty shit when it came to the Site C decision. Backstabbing at it’s best or worse, depends on what purpose it was intended. The best for her advancement and backing Johnny boy and being a team player. The worst for the public and Peace residents and constituent’s she lied too. I hope she gets kicked out and into the basement of politics or out completely. Jeez, there should be a law or something that invalidates a politicians employment when they pull that rotten stuff.


  2. “…because its 2015…” Justin? How soon we forget!
    Because its 2019 now, and with the Spring rains now becoming the Summer rains I suspect the ‘new’ budget for Site C is fast becoming the ‘real’ budget.
    No, I realize its not all your doing. Horgan played a large part it in too.
    As Raife used to say, “…12.5 Billion here and 10 Billion there (TMX), pretty soon you’re talking real money.” Imagine what that money COULD have provided! Chrispy promised to twin the TCH from Kamloops to the Alberta border…..for $600 Million. So far she’s almost to Chase, for $500 Million! Heck, she could have made it all the way to Banff for half the money wasted on Site C and TMX. And that only includes construction costs! Never mind the buckets and buckets spent on lawyers, and consultants, and studies and rebuttals etc. etc.
    Okay, I got so wound up I almost forgot about climate change!



    Ooops! Good ol reliable Intregrity BC has a link to a good ol unreliable SNC-Lavalin story. It appears that for unknown reasons the company has unceremoniously bailed on Edmonton’s latest LRT venture.

    “Two of the short-listed consortiums in the running for Edmonton’s Valley Line West LRT project have withdrawn from the competition. SNC-Lavalin, which underwent a corporate restructuring on Monday, is one of them.”

    “We want to step back and reassess our options before the remainder of the procurement process,” said Bruce Ferguson, the city’s branch manager for LRT expansion and renewal.

    Remind me. Weren’t there two other enormous BC projects that SNC-Lavalin was bidding on? Will anyone in BC government reassess whether It’s time to delete some favourite names from consideration? Any bets?

    As to the article above on Site C, and by extention BC’s oddly malformed environmental policies?

    Denials aside it sure looks like the cracks just keep on growning!


      1. No idea who works for the Daily Hive but…

        “The private sector competitions to design and build two of Metro Vancouver’s largest upcoming transportation infrastructure projects is down by one competitor.
        A spokesperson for SNC-Lavalin confirmed to Daily Hive today that the company will be withdrawing its separate bids to build the $2.8-billion SkyTrain Broadway Extension project and the $1.4-billion Pattullo Bridge replacement project.”

        “Earlier in the year, the BC Ministry of Transportation shortlisted SNC-Lavalin for the detailed bidding request for proposal (RFP) stage for the projects, following a request for qualifications process.”

        ““These charges and investigations, and potential results thereof, could harm the company’s reputation, result in suspension, prohibition or debarment of the company from participating in certain projects, reduce its revenues and net income and adversely affect its business,” reads the investor report.”

        “SNC-Lavalin designed, built, and helped finance the Canada Line, and is operating and maintaining this standalone SkyTrain line through a 35-year contract — expiring 2040.
        The company was also involved with the region’s other SkyTrain projects, dating back to the 1980s, and most recently the Millennium Line’s Evergreen Extension”.


        “Quebec Economy Minister Pierre Fitzgibbon said Wednesday the province will not offer financial help to SNC-Lavalin Group Inc. in spite of the construction giant’s woes.”

        “”Despite the obvious operational problems…I don’t see the need for the Quebec government to intervene at the financial level,” he told reporters in Montreal.”

        “Fitzgibbon cited the Montreal-based company’s pending sale of part of its stake in Ontario’s 407 toll highway as proof of liquidity.”

        “”The issue to me is not, will they get the money, but when they will get the money,” the minister said.”

        “”The Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and Cintra Global S.E., a subsidiary of Spanish multinational Ferrovial S.A.— 407 International Inc.’s two other owners — are engaged in a legal battle over which one gets to scoop up the $3.25-billion stake.”

        “However, he left the door open to a bailout down the line, as SNC’s falling share price leaves it increasingly vulnerable to potential hostile bids.

        “If a transaction were required to save it from a hostile takeover, we could intervene,” he said.”


      1. A very interesting speculation.
        Thanks so much for your wonderful work, Laila. The health effects omitted from the fracking inquiry is just gobsmackingly cynical. In fact everything this government does in relation to environment is bizarrely manipulative. And don’t get me going on the privatisation of seniors care homes!


        1. Thanks Delores. The health impacts being deliberately omitted is something I have found lingering since I read Calen Behns piece. He has done a poignant job of voicing why this should be considered a criminal act. And it should be when you even have an inkling there is an issue, otherwise its literally negligence. This is why communities need to be aware and empowered of where their power lies and why they must use it.

          Ugh the seniors care issue is horrific. That’s not a sector that should be left to for profit providers 😦


  4. the crooked corrupt site c dam project carries on only for the crooked corrupt corporate and political agendas at stake–all hogggs at the public money trough–all should be held crimminally responceable charged and jailed—-who is willing to take on this job it has become fully aware to the public how crooked and corrupt this whole site c mess is–mark meiers charlie lk bc


  5. Looking at some of those pictures and reading the comments, my bet is, that dam dam will go to $20B by the time its finished. Then at the first really good shake, it collapses.

    If Horgan is smart, he’ll have a study done and come up with some rationale to fill in that hole and be done with it. He can stop the project saying it has come to their attention that there are safety risks, i.e. slides, etc or they have no idea now how much it will cost. They can just walk away.


    1. Yes he can and should do that, and even have the Government’s Worksafe BC sign off on it also. Wouldn’t that be something. Iwon’t hold my breath. I say government’s Worksafe BC because it sure as hell doesn’t seem to belong to the workers or for the workers. It’s run, bent, warped and twisted to favour their puppet masters program. Well under the BC Liberal House of Corruption it sure was. So far it hasn’t changed under the NDP by the looks of things either. Maybe there’s time for change back to when it was for the working people.
      Anyhow, there will still be billions saved, after all said and done. Reclamation and everything. A lot more too, by avoiding a possible future catastrophic failure. I hope the timid special interest glad handler Premier Johnny boy is prepared to live with that possibility.


      1. You should read the worksafe reports on the link to the latest quarterly report. Some seriously ridiculous things going on with regards to worker safety


        1. Hi Laila , I’m having a problem finding the pinpoint on that. I suppose I’m lacking in the tech skill way more than i figure. No good at fishing either. Yikes I’m way behind on things or just daft. Both.


    2. I agree totally.

      This is exactly what he should do. He has had every opportunity and yet has continues down the Dwight Ball path of wanting to avoid debt on the books but ending up with a costly mistake.


  6. BC Hydro officials must be investigated for breach-of-trust and dereliction of duty-of-care and negligence, and fraud, and misrepresentation

    Public servants function as trustees and must be held culpable when they violate their oath-bound obligations.

    Horgan is a reckless irresponsible asshole who must also be investigated and convicted for his wanton desecration of his office and the social license under which he and the New Demagogic Potty were elected.

    Among his duties were to kill Site-C, prosecute key public officials/apparatchiks, prosecute Imperial Minerals for their criminal negligence at Mount Polley.
    Unfortunately that whole gang is protected by their Immunity to Act with Impunity Priviledges.


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