Environment Minister George Heyman, Premier John Horgan and Energy Minister Michelle Mungall announce decision to proceed with construction of the Site C dam, B.C. legislature library, Dec. 11, 2017. (Ragnar Haagen/Black Press)

Site C dam goes ahead, cost estimate now up to $10.7 billion

Premier John Horgan says Christy Clark left him no other choice

B.C. Premier John Horgan has given the green light to completion of the Site C hydroelectric dam, after B.C. Hydro revised its cost estimate upward by more than $1 billion.

The B.C. NDP cabinet has struggled with the decision, with the project two years in and facing a cost of $4 billion to shut down construction of the third dam on the Peace River and put the site back the way it was.

After hearing from experts for weeks, the government faced an estimate that B.C. Hydro rates are already expected to rise 30 per cent over the next 10 years without the costs of Site C.

If the dam is halted, rates would go up another 12 per cent by 2020 to pay the cost. That translates to an extra $198 per year for an average single-family house.

RELATED: How Christy Clark made Site C unstoppable

When it proceeds, government officials expect the additional rate increase would be 6.5 per cent when the dam goes into service in 2024. B.C. Hydro would likely apply to the B.C. Utilities Commission to “smooth” that rate increase, raising it in smaller steps to pay for the dam.

Horgan blasted the previous B.C. Liberal government for “megaproject mismanagement” that left the NDP government with little choice.

“It’s clear that Site C should never have been started,” Horgan said. “But to cancel it now would add billions to the province’s debt – putting at risk our ability to deliver housing, child care, schools and hospitals across B.C. And that’s a price we’re not willing to pay.”

The risk reserve for Site C has been increased by $700 million to prepare for further costs increases.

B.C. Liberal critic Mike Bernier, MLA for Peace River South, said the project had been studied for a decade and 2,000 families and Peace region businesses have been left with uncertainty while the new government’s review carried on.

B.C. Liberal finance critic Tracy Redies, a former B.C. Hydro board member, said the NDP’s review confirmed that with projected growth in electricity demand, B.C. will need the equivalent of nine Site C dams by 2050.

B.C. Green Party leader Andrew Weaver said proceeding with Site C was a result of the NDP “pandering for votes” by taking $4.7 billion of Port Mann bridge debt onto the government books to cancel bridge tolls.

Now the province can’t afford the $4 billion cost of stopping the dam, and it has two bad policies based on political expediency, Weaver said.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC HydroBC legislatureSite C

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Anti-racism rally takes to the streets of downtown Victoria

Vigil for George Floyd planned at B.C. Legislature for 7 p.m.

PHOTOS: Greater Victoria School District reports 50 per cent of students back in class

Students are on a rotational schedule alternating two days a week

Hearing ahead for blind community’s B.C. Human Rights Tribunal case against Victoria bus stops

The Canadian Federation of the Blind says bike lanes can be dangerous

Saanich man dies from injuries after serious crash on Six Mile Road

Police continue to investigate cause of fatal crash

View Royal resident spots bear in Portage Park

West Shore RCMP confirms report of sighting, Conservation notified

COVID-19 birthday drive-by celebrations snuffed out in Island community

Bylaw officer visit with threats of a fine mean parade trucks taken off the road

Vancouver Island Regional Libraries to offer ‘takeout’ style services

VIRL will offer the service on a branch-by-branch basis

George Floyd asphyxiated by sustained pressure: family autopsy

Death sparked a wave of protests across the U.S. and abroad

COVID-19: B.C. commercial landlords can’t evict if they decline rent assistance

Emergency order ‘incentive’ for federal program, Carole James says

B.C. Hockey League prepping for 2020-21

League reviewing different scenarios and start times in compliance with provincial regulations

Duncan’s Queen Margaret’s School pioneers thermal imaging in school reopening

Private school is first in B.C. to use new tech post-COVID-19

Investigators probe death of CN employee at Surrey rail yard

Transportation Safety Board is investigating an ‘occurrence that took place during switching operations’

Trans Mountain starts B.C. leg of pipeline twinning project

Mostly finished in Alberta, Burnaby terminal expanding

Most Read