Editorial: Site C debacle

Premier John Horgan's announcement to proceed with the Site C mega-dam was met with an extreme range of reactions. The bottom line is the NDP had the opportunity to put the project to pasture, but instead chose to proceed with it, now estimated to cost more than $10 billion.

Within minutes of the announcement to continue building the BC Hydro dam in the Peace River Valley, the government was met with a threat of injunction to halt construction and civil action for treaty infringement by the West Moberly First Nations and Prophet River First Nation.

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First nations leaders are calling Horgan's decision to carry on with the mega-dam construction a betrayal. Many consider it another grand election platform hastily shoved aside while ecosystems are destroyed and constitutional rights of indigenous peoples, such as hunting and fishing, are violated.

The cold reality is the Site C dam will destroy indigenous lands and displace farmers while flooding more than 5,000 hectares of the Peace River Valley.

Horgan also seems to have ignored research that points to the rapidly decreasing viability of hydroelectric dams. Researchers have found few of these projects ever deliver the positive returns seen with other energy alternatives.

Also, Oxford University researchers found that engineers underestimate the costs and scheduling of these large-scale dams and projects often go drastically over budget.

Cue the announcement that Site C will now cost nearly $2 billion more than originally anticipated and is behind its schedule completion of 2024.

The only positive news from Horgan's announcement to proceed with the dam, besides attempting to salvage the billions already spent, is that more than 2,000 jobs will be saved as the project ploughs forward.

But in the argument of jobs versus the environment, the environment always loses. It is so unfortunate that Horgan and his (now-former?) Green buddy Andrew Weaver did not come up with a more environmentally conscious source of jobs and energy, and find a way to absorb the billions already sunk into Site C. Was it truly past the point of no return?

Christy Clark's Liberals dug this Site C hole that we are now in. John Horgan's job, in the eyes of many who voted for the NDP, was to dig us out of it, not dig us deeper.

Jason Schreurs, publisher/editor

Copyright © 2018 Powell River Peak

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