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Friday round up: Site C, Old Fort Slide lawsuit & the BC Hydro job listing only a fool or very brave soul would apply for.

It is a cold, frosty morning in this part of north island today, and the entire yard is thick with frost that sparkles and glitters like diamonds in the morning sun. Luckily my winter crops of red spear winter broccoli and cabbage are hardy, and I covered the more tender winter greens of rainbow chard, mache and celery last night so all is well… provided the forecast snow doesn’t come too thick and fast tomorrow night! Our pandemic garden started last spring has proven to be a tremendous budget helper throughout this winter, providing kale, celery, radishes, snow peas and Jerusalem artichokes, in addition to the crops mentioned above. The cool evenings ahead will be spent sorting seeds and planning what needs to be started inside for early spring crops.This year will see an expansion of squash: butternut, acorn and delicata, which grow fast and require zero attention other than water in the heat of summer. Nutrient dense, this is a staple of our winter diet and can be used in so many ways. Do you garden, or did you plant one this year during spring lockdown? How we used personal gardens to create better food security for all in our community last year, is definitely material for a future post. And definitely something everyone should think of for the coming year which is still far from certain, given the mutations and variants popping up.

But, enough of my garden, its time to follow-up on some stories this week that need a permanent mention. First up is…

The lawsuit filed by Old Fort residents just downstream of Site C construction

The residents of Old Fort finally had enough of the runaround they’ve endured over the past 2 years since the initial slide and have filed a lawsuit:

You can read more, and see the litigation summary here: https://www.alaskahighwaynews.ca/fort-st-john/old-fort-residents-file-landslide-lawsuit-1.24269457

This has been a long time coming and in my view, inevitable. Last August, I detailed how Old Fort residents were still being denied answers after 2 years of no resolution since the first initial slide, and posted a list of unanswered questions forwarded to me by a resident. Not one individual I emailed those too, bothered to even acknowledge them: https://lailayuile.com/2020/08/11/old-fort-residents-still-denied-answers-and-resolution-after-two-years-and-two-separate-slides/

The post above contains some critically important information both myself, Ben Parfitt and Sarah Cox have covered in the last few years, one of which is the conflict of interest residents allege the province was in for investigating, in part,its own potential liability as part of the potential causes. I was the first to cover this aspect in October of 2018, when I posted documents the Peace River Regional District had posted on its site for the address of the gravel pit located at the tops of the slopes. In 2017, a letter from the Inspector of Mines permitting office, sent a letter to the former owner that specifically states that because of the past geotechnical slope instability of both the site and surrounding area, any future owner would require a mine plan to be developed by a geotechnical and mining engineer. You can read that post, see those documents and additional pertinent information, here: https://lailayuile.com/2018/10/09/part-ii-if-the-land-falls-down-around-site-c-does-anyone-in-victoria-hear/

Ironically, the chief inspector of mines found no obvious cause to the initial slide and it may never be determined…..https://www.alaskahighwaynews.ca/old-fort-landslide/report-finds-no-obvious-cause-of-old-fort-landslide-in-northeastern-b-c-1.24249892

“The first cracks in the earth were noticed in September 2018 at an active gravel pit at the top of the slope where work remains suspended after parts of it slipped 10 metres within hours.

The study says it’s not clear if a cause “will ever be determined with certainty,” but that the pit’s stockpile of gravel combined with natural slope instability and rain that was 44 per cent above average may all have been factors.The report makes four findings, including one calling on the Ministry of Energy Mines and Petroleum Resources to issue an alert aimed at improving industry awareness of geohazard risks at other B.C. gravel pits, reminding them to consider and plan for those risks…”

Ok then….it seems there was an alert issued on this site in 2017, and whether a slope stability report was done, is unknown to me. I will keep you updated on this, but let’s also keep in mind this is all happening just downstream from site C construction, not far outside the outer edges of the fenced off area and on the same side as the notorious north bank I’ve provided photo documentation of for years. And even the Inspector of Mines has a warning in print about the geotechnical instability of the area in the letter in mentioned above? Maybe BC Hydro missed that part ( insert eyeroll)

You can read the entire series of Old Fort posts at the bottom of this page: https://lailayuile.com/the-case-to-stop-site-c-construction-links-news/

The Job posting from BC Hydro I can’t imagine anyone stupid enough to take.

Lindsay Brown posted this recently…. BC Hydro is looking for a new ‘Risk Specialist’ for Site C…

Hahahahahahaha…. oh wow. That’s actually funny. Here is the link if you want to check it out. https://www.employmentconnections.bc.ca/jobview/projects-risk-specialist-for-the-site-c-project/

Just a couple of things I noticed in this ad here, y’all…..

  1. This position is going to report to, in part, the project assurance board that by Horgans own admission failed,and is appointed with people with a history of being pro Site C . This board should be disbanded based on its ineffectiveness.
  2. The BCUC hasn’t received a project update report from BC Hydro since March of 2020. ( https://www.sitecproject.com/news-and-information/progress-reports-to-the-bcuc )
  3. The term of this position is until 2025, which tells me BC Hydro has no intention of stopping and…
  4. Where are these independent oversight bodies they speak of in this ad that this position will also report to? The Project Assurance Board was supposed to be independent and we know it was anything but.

I also call on Premier Horgan and Minister Ralston, to release the full, un-redacted report immediately, as Horgan promised it would be when complete. There is no valid reason to wait for the outside expert reports, as we already know Milburn didn’t have the expertise to assess that.

That’s it for now,get outside if you can for fresh air if you are in restrictions, and if you aren’t, be safe. We still have a long ways to go before normal.

17 Comments »

  1. Doya think I’d qualify? I’ve got “nine years experience” as a professional engineer. Sadly I’m lacking as “a people with a history of being pro Site C”. What’s wrong with being unbiased? Well,, i probably wouldn’t qualify on those grounds.
    But, if they can’t find any other candidates, I’ll throw my hat in the ring!,

    Like

    • Sure you would qualify. Had you been on staff it wouldn’t have gotten this far because unlike some engineers who tow the company line,you would have looked at the risk-cost ratio and said no.

      I’ve always said they will find the person who CAN build it, or WILL build it.

      But that doesn’t mean it should be

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I have more questions that I can’t find answers to. Why didn’t the brains in government do all this ‘inspecting’ before they even started the project? Why spend a ton of money on the Milburn report when they have to do a repeat inspection because he wasn’t an expert? Didn’t they know he wasn’t an expert beforehand? I think if the government did any due diligence they’d have seen that studies were done years ago and it stated that it wasn’t a stable area, eg. Taylor Bridge collapse. Why all the secrecy? What are they afraid of? Only fear stops people from telling the truth. It’s all a head-shaker how these people think they are worthy of running a province.

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    • I’ll try to help. There are plenty of posts on my site c page covering this back in 2016.

      As posted in my last post, many more and this one, the government commissioned a report, the Weisgarber report,decades ago, confirming the history instability of this region and specifically this portion of the valley. There is a long history of banks slumping, sliding and any kind of disruption to the soil that exposes the under surface to air and water, is particularly detrimental to stability. There is ground water intrusion long gravel seams, there is zero bed rock, only this shale that crumbles into bits when its exposed and sees the sun, or it reverts back to silty slip clay when wet. Either way, that report recommended any kind of further industrial development in the area be avoided or minimized because of those unstable banks.

      Governments past tried to bring forward this dam too, Bennett tried back in the day, but the BCUC said no. It was put to rest. When Campbell became premier, he exempted Site C from review by the BCUC, under the Clean Energy Act. That was what allowed Clarks desire to create a legacy project to move forward, despite the province still not needing the energy now, and having further options to create more via Revelstoke 6, where a space exists to add another turbine.

      All this aside, the NDP was well versed on the instability of the area, MLA’s travelled to Paddle for the Peace, Horgan spoke to Peace River residents and agreed it was a bad idea. It was never in their plan under Power BC.

      When the 2017 election happened, they needed to win Surrey ridings to beat the Liberals and thus the promise to remove tolls from the bridge. They did so and the province took on the hit from lost revenue to the same tune of what Site C would have then cost to stop. They chose Port Mann debt over the dam, even knowing how unstable that entire area was.

      It was also know the design of the dam was unprecedented for the type of soil it was being built on, and yet did not order a review of any aspect beyond the limited review the BCUC was ordered to do. They did not order any safety reviews, nothing. That was when this should all have been done.

      I couldn’t believe they ignored all this back in 2017. We were all shocked then. They fully wear this now. We all knew and they also would know, Milburn didn’t have the expertise to review anything geotechnical of this magnitude. And hes a hold over from the former government like so many that have been kept on and are advising and in some cases, running ministries. ( Deputy Ministers make more policy decisions than ministers, who are informed of whats going on and then go ” OK” )

      And one thing we know is that this is a tight ship. No one speaks out, even when they know its wrong. Omerta.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I think Horgan wants a report that gives him even the slightest hint that the dam construction could still go ahead. Even if that means wasting millions more. He just wants to have the stage set for someone else too wear the blame if something goes wrong. I also don’t think he even needs too further waste our money on reports, since he already gave the green light for continuance. He wants to continually keep himself updated and shielded from any blame if the dam integrity goes south. Typical of so many politicians. So cowardly, but what’s new.

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    • I agree. He wanted to beat Clark at her own game on LNG, which he partially did when he signed BC to an agreement that screws us for 20 years. He literally said Clark was signing BC to a generation sell out and then when she couldnt get an LNG deal signed before losing her job, he sweetened the deal and made it more of a sellout.

      He doesnt like having to admit he is wrong and his ego and temper get the best of him more than they should with any leader.

      Like

  4. And where the heck is the media?!! Don’t we have any investigative journalists out there? Anyone? Last time I remember any real good investigating was when Glenn Clark built a sundeck.
    A sundeck and the media was all over it. Here we have gross secrecy and propaganda going to the likes of the wrong side in WWll. Major gross overspending on a dam that could possibly end up breaking apart. All I hear are crickets.

    Like

    • Justine Hunter has done some excellent work on Site C over the years, and of course Sarah Cox has a magnificent book and body of work on The Narwhal on it, but rarely do we see any indepth work like she has done with FOI’s etc, in a mainstream publication or news cast like most in BC watch or read.

      Part of the issue too, is that without the help of contacts and knowledge of engineering outside of what Hydro claims, its a steep learning curve on knowing where to look and what to look for via FOI.

      As someone who has written extensively about many of the provinces transportation projects, I’ve made a lot of contacts and friends with a number of very esteemed and diverse background engineers who have taken the time to teach and educate me on everything from contracts to how jobs are bid and why, how things are built. Without professionals like them to assist, its hard for someone to pursue something unless they have a heads up.

      This government is just as bad with letting info out via FOI as the last one. They fight them and it takes forever to get.

      What we really need is more whistleblowers to come forth from the project. Quickly.

      Like

  5. As I write this, the shale up north is as unstable as it was last week; the NDP have become very opaque, so much so that there is no transparency at all, and over 440,000 people will have perished with covid-19 south of the 49th by the end of the day.

    All very chilling.

    It is like a old disaster flick, moving ever so slowly to a well known conclusion. We are the audience of this “B” classic, shaking our heads at how poor the script is and how bad the actors are. The plot is the same plot followed before in countless movies and why not, it is a proven winner as suckers buy tickets to watch the same film with only a location change and a new cast.

    Herr Horgan has become that old disaster flick, a little man thrust into the spotlight of politics and has become more of a puppet than a leader.

    Who is pulling the strings?

    The obvious has been named but there are also those who prefer to keep to the darkness to prevent public revulsion.

    Site C; Hydro; Covid and I might add TransLink are all the old politic, where politcal backroom deals trump common sense and the public good. The same old arguments and the same old inducements are used to achieve only one end, political euphoria, especially at election time.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. It’s almost as if Climate Change (it’s hard to define it as ‘Global Warming’ this week!) and Site C have disappeared from our psyche, what with all the discussion on the pandemic and the hullaballoo over the gong show to the South, In the meantime, Horgan plugs along at $5 million a day on Site C. Pretty soon it WILL be past the point of cancellation – it’ll be complete!
    As Rafe Mair used to say, “a few billion here and a few billion there, pretty soon you’re talking about REAL money!”

    Like

  7. Horgan wants the union vote. He will get that even if the white elephant collapses. It has kept people working, and thats all that matters to them, especially right now during these trying times. Can we blame the working people for wanting to work and have some sort of job security. No. I sure can’t, and won’t. I know as many do, it’s work, too keep a family fed and pay bills. You know, keep the wolves from the door. And of course Reclamation would still keep many employed. Work is work.

    I believe the money saved by shutting down the dam, including reclamation costs would still be billions greater.
    There could have been so much help right now, for the people most affected by this crisis. But this Premier is much to spineless too shut down this insanity, and get the money to people that need it. Much more than the measly vote buying, one time thousand dollar recovery benefit cheque.

    Horgan may just want to have his name and party as the ones doing Christy Clark’s ribbon cutting ceremony and have his name on a plaque of honour for a mega project getting built. Or it could end up on the wall of shame and dishonor where it deserves to be which I think is a distinct possibility. This liar had no intention of stopping the dam construction. His opposition to it when Clark was in was a lie. The biggest prize for hypocrisy in BC goes to John Horgan. Oh well, like so many politicians like him are from the same swamp. Some just live a little deeper. They are truly off the scale when it comes too selfish political interest, like having an election during a major deadly crisis.

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  8. Wow! I, along with 674 others, just finished the BC Green Party’s webinar: Site C, What is the NDP Hiding? Very disappointing turnout and an indication of where the project is heading. To Completion!
    Disgusting! There are many other problems we could/should be addressing. The pandemic, Climate Change, Health Care, the Homeless……..

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  9. Thanks to Laila for earlier links to government studies and reports dating back to 1991 that found the site would be built on shale much like Horgans green energy. What a doofus !

    Like

    • My pleasure ( displeasure?) I can’t take credit,the people of the peace, Arthur Hadland and others,are friends and have been trying to bring sense to this for so long.

      I knew long ago he would continue it. It was integral to his plan for LNG which he also conned supporters on.

      To be honest,I’m surprised the Liberals haven’t tried to recruit John Horgan for leader. He’s not only carried on every project Clark started, but he also outdid her on selling out BC to foreign corps on LNG Canada. People forget he rightfully stood in the leg and said she was selling out British Columbians… then when it came down to it, he increased the subsidies to LNG, just to sign the deal. We are locked in for 25 years, far longer than he will be around in the legislature.

      Now hes had a second chance to do the right thing and he chose not to. Most of what he said in his presser is pure and unmitigated bullshit and can be shown to be wrong and inaccurate.

      Yes, I think he would make a fine BC Liberal. And I will show you why Monday. I have a hard time with the good people in the caucus staying silent over this debacle.

      Like

  10. Oh well it was a good fight, but now the dam is going ahead. The filthy hypocrites like Horgan and other two faced politicians will carry on with business as usual. These dirty politicians always talk about there concern for First Nations rights and the land and helping the unfortunate in our society and such, but they speak with two tongues. I would like too call them worse things.
    They have also been the cause of many more unessecary lives being lost because of gross negligence, as they let rapid test kits sit and rot in a warehouse. They lied on everything too make themselves look good as more loved ones die. Most politicians are bad as far as I’m concerned. Trudeau and even some media meatheads have normalized the slug slow vaccine rollout too make things sound great now. Just like most compliant standard media and press and sheep talk radio who kiss their rears. It’s the new modern way.

    Anyhow. On with life.This life altering, life threatening, life taking pandemic is the most important now and the leadership from the health officials and politicians across this nation need to be held to account for causing so much more deaths but that doesn’t seem to be happening on a grand scale. What a society. Holy shit.

    Like

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