Finally, a Site C Dam review

Editorial

Tuesday, August 8 2017

The provincial government has asked the British Columbia Utilities Commission (BCUC) to begin reviewing the Site C project.

It’s about time. Seriously, this should have been done years ago, before ground was even broken on the project.

As Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources Minister Michelle Mungall said, the previous BC Liberal government refused to allow the province’s independent energy watchdog to examine the project to determine if it was in the public interest. 

Construction on the $8.8-billion Site C project was started by the BC Liberal government in July 2015 without the independent regulatory oversight of the BCUC.

Green Leader Andrew Weaver said, “The BC Liberals should have sent this project for review from the get-go to determine whether it was in the interests of British Columbians. It is simply reckless to spend $9 billion of public money without proper due diligence. According to estimates the cost could be as high as $12 billion.”

Glad to see neither the Greens and nor NDP want to spend public money that isn’t in the public interest. 

It was never in question whether spending that money was in the BC Liberals interest. 

Specifically, through the review’s terms of reference, the BCUC has been asked to:

* Confirm whether or not BC Hydro is on target to complete Site C on budget and by 2024, and;

* Provide advice on implications for ratepayers associated with:

* proceeding with the project;

* suspending the project, while maintaining the option to resume construction until 2024; and

* terminating the project, remediating the site and proceeding with other resource portfolios that provide the same level of benefits at the same or lower cost as Site C.

The BCUC will be guided by the understanding that the review is not a reconsideration of decisions made during the environmental assessment process, by statutory decision makers, or in the courts.

The review will begin on Aug. 9, 2017. The terms of reference specify a preliminary report from the BCUC within six weeks (by Sept. 20, 2017), and a final report within 12 weeks (by Nov. 1, 2017).

The Site C Dam needs to be stopped. Now. Before any more homes or valuable land is lost to the BC Liberal legacy.

Then BC can move on to better and more hopeful discussions, like implementing proportional representation and bringing the BC Ferries experiment to a close.