” Because it’s no longer enough to be a decent person. It’s no longer enough to shake our heads and make concerned grimaces at the news. True enlightened activism is the only thing that can save humanity from itself.”
― Joss Whedon
It started with a post by Integrity BC, linking to a story detailing how the BC government had started a tip line, for anyone with info on money laundering in BC to contact.
“What the actual f*ck?” was literally, my first thought. Why, after everything we have read – revealed by Sam Cooper and Kathy Thomlinson – would the province ask the public to send in tips to… Peter German?
Anyone? The province of BC and Peter German are the last place I would send credible tips to, and this is why: https://lailayuile.com/2018/06/27/money-and-corruption-are-ruining-the-land-2/
Who is actually running this show? This money laundering issue is so far beyond the real estate aspect ( The NDP have tried to turn this into a ‘quick wins’, affordability issue and nothing more, to snag Vancouver voters. It goes way deeper than real estate, and they know it) , that I – and others – have serious concerns as to why the current government hasn’t moved to a full on public inquiry, with powers of subpoena to compel testimony. Quebecs Charbonneau Commission documented how this corruption works in government. In the construction industry, including public projects. And Eby himself chose to learn from it… yet we see nothing but a government tip line that will get info to German in a timely fashion…
Me…I would ask anyone with tips to go directly to Sam Cooper, Integrity BC, or Kathy Thomlinson.. all people who have demonstrated their clear dedication to seeing the truth exposed in BC corruption.
This…is not the Eby I have seen in the past. That Eby wouldn’t allow a pass and call for a government tip line. He knows better. The longer the NDP take to call a public inquiry, the more complicit they become in the face of all evidence revealed by excellent reporters. Period.
The only way forward on this file, is a full public inquiry with subpoena powers. Which I suspect has not been called because this current govt made so many promises that they can’t budget for an inquiry without defaulting on a prior promise elsewhere….
Which brings me to LNG and the governments coming climate action plan…. ( can you feel the impact of my eyeroll from where you are??) Good old ” Hip Dad Horgan” is using LNG as a justification for profits that will pay for social services in BC. Sounds familiar? Oh yes, Clark used the same line!
Justine Hunter has a great, recent column, for the most part unshared because in my opinion, it concisely spells out how foreign profits have become more important than BC residents…
” Today, fossil fuels supply two-thirds of the province’s energy needs, according to Clean Energy BC, an association that promotes renewable power. The provincial government has approved new fossil-fuel production – a massive liquefied natural gas plant in Kitimat – but says the target can still be reached by converting most everything else to clean, renewable electricity.
But many British Columbians opt to heat their homes and businesses with fossil fuels, because electric heating typically costs 50 per cent more.
In early December, the province will release a climate plan to show how it intends to reach the 2030 target. B.C.’s carbon tax will rise, but so too will the cost of electricity. Efficiency and conservation have to be part of the solution.
In a media briefing, senior government officials who are not authorized to be quoted outlined some of the changes. Others, including Clean Energy BC, have also offered their vision.
This is the picture that is emerging:
Homeowners will replace their gas furnaces with electric-power heat pumps, which currently cost $4,000-$6,000. Commuters will trade gas-fuelled vehicles for zero-emission cars. Energy-efficient retrofits of older homes will be in demand, while new homes will need to have the lowest-possible carbon footprint. Consumers will ditch inefficient appliances and light bulbs. Homes will be connected to smart devices that choose the best time of day to run the dishwasher, and turn off lights the kids left on. Ideally, they will actually return energy to the grid with micro-power systems and battery storage. Industry and institutions will have to do the same.
The massive Site C hydroelectric dam, expected to be ready in 2024, will not come close to supplying the electricity for this low-carbon future. And capacity to provide more energy is not the only issue. Transmission and distribution systems will have to be upgraded to carry the increased load from the point of generation to communities.
Jae Mather, executive director of Clean Energy BC, calculates the province will require about 50 per cent more electricity production than it has now to meet demand in 2030. Site C will provide about 10 per cent of that. With the cost of renewable energy dropping, smaller projects, especially wind power, will likely do the rest. The additional infrastructure needed will drive up energy costs, and that should help consumers embrace conservation.
This my friends, is a huge issue for me specifically for two reasons. One, affordability. Currently BC Hydro was ordered to deduct contributions from every Hydro customers bill ( whether you can afford it or not) to create a crisis fund Hydro customers can apply to for help paying their bills.
( The irony of making those who can least afford it, contribute to this fund has not been lost on anyone)
When people have to choose to heat their homes in winter versus eating, there is a problem. And pushing average people to pay more specifically to allow this one LNG project to proceed and pollute ( with huge subsidies on electricity at rates less than we pay) is wrong. It’s wrong and it’s not how BC should be addressing any climate targets. Want to use the natural gas we already have here in BC as a transition fuel to get people off oil furnaces and wood heat? Offer incentives to upgrade to efficient gas furnaces. Offer incentives to convert from wood to gas. Or use biofuel wood pellet stoves which burn more efficiently and clean, as well as utilizing the scrap wood in logging cuts that is usually burned on site to get rid of it.
Oh wait, let me remind you that BC Hydro isn’t pursuing any alternative power forms because they are committed to Site C. So say goodbye to solar incentives, say goodbye to passivhaus incentives or any other alternative energy project that will reduce load on the main grid. They have made it harder for homeowners to get into solar because of new electric requirements. In Europe there are entire communities who, with solar panels, sustain themselves and reduce load on the grid. Here? Govt proposes to increase load on the grid to offset the pollution created in allowing these foreign corps to profit off our natural gas.
The technology for alternative energy sources is becoming more efficient and affordable every day…yet here in BC all those NDP MLA’s who were on board with this in past years, are silent in public, sticking to the party line, defending the indefensible.
It alarms me. The NDP is giving a very lucrative and free pass to foreign corporations to pollute at a tremendous profit due to all these expanded subsidies, but they expect you and I to make up for it. How is that right, or fair? We all need to do our part to address climate change…and that includes foreign corporations. Considering there has been no move to halt US thermal coal exports out of BC ports, the entire line being given by government is just that. A line, designed to keep the unknowing public at large happy and silent. ( Until their hydro bill goes up… and it will. Substantially. Get ready for this now. )
It alarms me that this government and its ardent supporters who actively opposed these moves under the Clark government right beside me, now remain silent, or even defend these decisions “Because the Libs were worse”. The subsidies Horgans govt has given to LNG Kitimat are more substantial than Clarks were. And more secretive. Were the Libs worse? Yes. Does that mean you should accept shite from Horgan? No.
But this is how it seems to work now. Because good old Dad Joke Horgan is doing it, it suddenly makes it all ok? I already have a dad. I don’t need another one whose Dad ‘lit’ schtick, isn’t actually acting in my childrens best interests. Is it Horgan running the show right now…. or Geoff ” Vision-I-helped-ruin- Vancouver” Meggs? Anyone?
The best thing about PR, is that if it passes, NO party will have as much unfettered influence in the legislature as both the Liberals and NDP have had. And that can only be a good thing for the people of BC right now. So please, if you haven’t yet, vote for PR. Because ” what we do now, echoes for all eternity…”
You, right now, can change all this…what are you waiting for?
Yes, new photos in…and no, they aren’t being taken with a drone ( someone asked) , but by air with a telephoto lens. Why? Because the news that the Old Fort slide was caused by bedrock failure really didn’t get much attention and it should have.
Why does this matter you ask? Because the ‘bedrock’ ( shale ‘bedrock’) BC hydro plans to attach Site C to, is extremely problematic and I wonder if it could fail as dramatically as the Old Fort slide area just downstream did.
” The ground beneath the Old Fort landslide had been moving for months before it finally let go in a massive collapse in September and forced more than 150 residents to evacuate their homes.
The bedrock failed in the area of a gravel pit that had been operating on the hillside above Old Fort, according to Smith. The slide was last estimated at more than eight million cubic metres, and has pushed its way down through a gully beneath the gravel pit and into a back channel of the Peace River.
Evidence so far suggests the ground had been moving for months before its collapse, Smith said.
“This piece of ground has been moving for quite a while before it let go,” he said.
“It’s a pretty big slide. It’s not just what has happened so far.”
Data from a laser light survey technique called LiDAR continues to be collected daily, and recent data hasn’t shown any significant movement of the landslide, Smith said. However, that could change, and winter weather will be a factor.
“The time of year when movement is going to be of the greatest concern is during the periods when we have excessive snowmelt or rain on snow, and the groundwater levels are high,” Smith said.
No doubt. The rain and snowmelt played havoc on the north slope of Site C as well, which is part of what led to the massive tension crack at one point, exactly like what has been seen in the Old Fort Slide.
BC Hydro knows the bedrock at Site C is unstable. Its documented in BCUC documents:
So. You can bet your money on the fact those in charge at Hydro are making damn sure everything is monitored right now regardless of how awesome they say everything is, which brings me back to the new photos I have below.
In the first photo you can really see just how close that camp is to the edge of the north slope, above and down from the diversion tunnels. From my source:
Couple shots from yesterday. Lot of vehicles and people looking over the North Bank. Moisture leaking out all over the whole thing. And noticeable right below the camp. Center of one photo shows a bad spot. And the shot of the blocked back channel shows the new road to the old fort.
Ah well, seems like a really stupid place to build a dam with all these unstable soils and even more unstable bedrock, but they are going to keep on building.
And it reminds me again of how eerily Site C continues to follow the path of the ill-fated Muskrat Falls project…which is now undergoing a public inquiry because of what a clusterfuck it is. No one listened to the naysayers ( they were bullied, harassed and called crazy) or even financial experts. A premier won an election campaigning to stop Muskrat…then said it was too far along to stop. And then the hydro CEO even admitted it was the wrong project…but they kept building for the same reason they keep building site c.
Now however, it turns out all those ‘crazy’ naysayers were right all along..they should have stopped Muskrat Falls when they had the chance.
But there is no comfort in being right…when the wrong is already done. Just like Site C.
Just sent in to me this morning, these new photos of the infamous north slope of Site C- the slope that has caused so much trouble since day 1.
I’ve documented those issues many times with photo’s since 2016-even after they tried a no flight rule, which was quickly removed – here:
I include those links because they contain photos that, when viewed in contrast against these new ones, show just how much this slope has been flattened in order to mitigate the ongoing slide issues they experienced…and still do. You can see where even despite having had little rain, iron rich water seepage still stains the concrete coating of the terraced hillside.
It is because so much of this slope was removed that the design of the dam was changed – traditional dams are situated between two slopes of a higher angle to act as anchoring ‘walls’, or the sides of the dam. Here, because the north slip has such a low angle, and because of other geotechnical concerns and unknowns detailed in BCUC documents, the dam design had to compensate for that low angle. I detailed all this in my last post here, with those bcuc docs: https://lailayuile.com/2018/10/12/part-iii-old-fort-slide-as-evacuation-alerts-orders-continuemore-questions-for-site-c-geotechnical-concerns
Here is a pic of the north slope and inlet portals ( diversion tunnel) labelled:
And here is a pic of the current design showing this north bank, on the right, securing that side of the dam, followed by a larger pic for context:
It doesn’t take an engineer to see why so many question the wisdom of Horgan’s decision to continue this dam. It will continue to experience geotechnical issues and with a clear,documented paper trail of contractor quality control and compliance issues, it will continue to escalate in cost.
As the wise ( currently working) engineers who help me say, “Just because you CAN, doesn’t mean you SHOULD.”
As we head into another weekend, the Old Fort Slide continues to move and create new & worrisome cracks. It has now entered the river channel, and an evacuation order was issued to include the islands in the river downstream of Site C.
“The main slide has already impacted one of the islands and recent changes and new information regarding the west slide indicates potential for increased mobilization and depth of failure,” reports Rhonda Mellafont, an engineering geologist with Westek.
The Peace River Regional District has issued a video warning – because of these new developments, pursuant to the Emergency Act as of today, 6am October 12th, anyone found entering the evacuation order zones may face imprisonment or fines. NO ENTRY WILL BE TOLERATED. The public safety risk is severe. The growing tension cracks and displacement clearly show significant instability and it is a deep-seated failure that is unpredictable.
The PRRD has posted some incredibly startling photographs taken between the initial slide and October 10th, which can be viewed at this PDF file here : Old-Fort-Slide-Pictures-Sept-30-to-Oct-10-2018
With the slide still on the move,what additional risk may develop for:
A) the communities downstream, and
B) Site C construction upstream,is unknown.
If the entire river becomes blocked either in a slow continuous fashion as is occurring now, or a sudden fast-moving slide event occurs, this could have serious consequences for both. ( FYI, the westernmost end of the back channel was supposed to be enhanced fish habitat as per project docs )
In addition, how much of the Old Fort Channel work here: 13-NB-7BCHydroPresentation was completed yet, if any? This would significantly impact this as well:
It highlights again the stark reality (insanity??) of building a dam in this kind of geologically unstable area, yet Andrew Watson – lead design of Site C – showed no concern in a radio segment on CBC yesterday: https://www.cbc.ca/player/play/1342405699546
Myself ? I’m still with Vern Ruskin in a call for an independent, outside safety review, and this is why.
Here are some photos taken within the last week and a half, of the diversion portals below the North Bank, and of the North Bank itself.
The first photo is of the upper bank and camp….now right on the edge.
Second is the outlet portal.
In the last two photo’s you can see orange streaks on the concrete shot coated terraces where iron rich water from the gravel seam inside, has leaked out and stained the concrete.
There remain significant unknowns with these tunnels under the north bank, ones that the Old Fort slide brings to the forefront. This should not be ignored.
From pages 104, 105 of the BCUC report here: 00699_A-8_Site-C-Inquiry_Deloitte-LLP-Independent-Report-No1-1
In the most recent Site C progress report ( Fiscal year 2019 report, page 9: https://www.sitecproject.com/news-and-information/progress-reports-to-the-bcuc ) , an issue was in fact, identified above Diversion Tunnel 2:
“On June 29, 2018, a small rock movement occurred on a localized area of bench -9, above and to the west of the diversion tunnel inlet portal number 2. A remediation plan is in place and work is well underway to resolve this issue. There were no workers in the area at the time of the incident. This small slope movement is not related to the tension cracks that occurred on the north bank in 2017. This current issue is related to a localized shear zone in bedrock material while the tension cracks were related to the overburden materials and slope conditions. Excavation of the inlet portal near tunnel number 1 is continuing, while remediation work proceeds above tunnel number 2. “
This is where I refer back to my featured image at the top of the post, taken from the PRRD photographs, clearly demonstrating what can happen at a shear zone as mentioned in the Site C excerpt report above:
A shear zone, is kind of like a fault in the earth, a line where the rocks or material on one side is under more tension or different tension than the other. As you see above, one side is static, or moving less than the other side which is moving quickly. So clearly these kind of issues do occur on the Site C project by their own reports and they are doing remediation. In some of the 2009 stage 2 engineering reports, the drill holes used don’t go down as far as the diversion tunnel depths and they had trouble drilling past the gravel that is at about 1550-1600 asl.
Watson also mentioned in his CBC segment that there are two other dams on the Peace that are just fine. What he left out is 1) both the WAC and Peace Canyon dams are of vastly different designs than the redesign of Site , and 2) that the areas they were built in, which still geologically similar, are more stable than the eastern portion of the valley where Site C is being placed.
These ongoing geotechnical issues are where the unknown risks and costs associated with resolving those risks remain…
In August, BC Hydro spokesperson Dave Conway told local media that the Crown corporation has not been searching for stronger bedrock at the dam site, where it has removed 11 million cubic metres of earth in an effort to resolve geotechnical issues that have added to the project’s escalating cost.
“We know what rock is here,” Conway said.
“The dam is going to rest on shales, and the powerhouse and spillway structures are going to be anchored into shale materials as well.”
Ruskin said it’s not uncommon to build dams on shale, even though it is weaker than other types of bedrock. But what concerns him is the combination of shale and the new L-shaped design structure that includes construction of a roller compacted concrete buttress that will serve as the foundation for the generating station and spillways.
“That has never been done before,” he said. “They are pioneering.”
Btw Watson, there is a slumped area just above the angled drop in the RCC conveyer you may want to keep an eye on…locals have noticed this recently.
I’ll have more updates in the comments as usual, and if you are just joining in, you can read