Site C work camp construction nears completion in April 2016. Called Two Rivers Lodge, the camp cost $470 million to build and operate and is a self-contained community with an 800-seat dining room, hair salon, gym, movie theatre and private room accommodations. (B.C. Hydro)

Environmental groups slam NDP decision to continue with Site C

Construction industry, meanwhile, is cautiously optimistic about how the project will look

Environmental groups denounced Premier John Horgan as he announced Monday the province would continue to build the Site C dam.

The Wilderness Committee told Black Press they were “massively disappointed” with what they called the NDP’s “flip-flopping” on the now-$10.7-billion northern B.C. megaproject.

“We can only come to the conclusion that Horgan was lobbied extensively by some of the construction unions,” said national campaign director Joe Foy.

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

According to the organization, the Site C dam could flood 83 kilometres of the Peace River from near Fort St. John upstream to Hudson’s Hope, contaminating fish stocks, and remove farmland from the Agricultural Land Reserve.

Foy took issue with the province’s claim that it would have cost $4 billion to halt the project, as well as Horgan’s stance that that money could not be paid back over time.

“We believe that is grossly overestimated,” he said. “All that dam can do, unlike the hole in the ground which just sits there, is lose us hundreds of millions of dollars every year it operates.”

He said the NDP’s decision could change B.C.’s political landscape as NDP voters who may feel betrayed move away from the party. Horgan had campaigned earlier this year on a promise to review, not kill, the dam, but he had criticized the BC Liberals’ approach to the project in the past.

More lawsuits expected

Court challenges, Foy said, are likely coming both from environmental and First Nations groups.

“I think rolling over First Nations in this way is unacceptable,” he said. “I think we will begin to see the effects of protests.”

Amnesty International called Horgan’s decision “a blatant betrayal of his government’s commitments to uphold the rights of Indigenous peoples.”

The group called foul on the province’s claim that it was too late to stop the project and said the West Moberly and Prophet River First Nations will continue their legal efforts.

‘We are relieved’

Meanwhile, the Independent Contractors and Businesses Association celebrated the thousands of jobs they believe will be kept and created by continuing work on Site C.

Spokesperson Jordan Bateman said all the extra time the NDP government took to have the dam reviewed was unnecessary, only to have Horgan ultimately go forward.

READ: BC Utilities Commission completes Site C report

Bateman said he also doesn’t buy the province’s new $10.7-billion estimated price tag. When it was approved by the then-Liberal government in 2014, the project was estimated at $8.8 billion.

“You have one analysis done in six weeks that says it could run over budget,” he said. “Frankly, the overruns that the NDP are planning for here are going to be caused by the NDP.”


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Murdered and missing honoured at Stolen Sisters Memorial March in Victoria

‘We come together to make change within the systems in our society’

Public packs Victoria mosque during B.C.’s Open Mosque Day

‘The best way to deal with fear is to educate. That’s what we are trying to do here’

Vancouver Island First Nations Youth Ambassadors deliver message to the United Nations

The delegation appeared at an event celebrating ‘the rich tapestry of global cultural diversity’

Turning pro on the Island

Pacific FC’s Brad Norris-Jones talks about his journey to pro sports in Victoria

B.C. students win Great Waters Challenge video contest

Video, mural and song about saving the salmon claims the top prize

Disgraced ex-Congressman Anthony Weiner released from prison

He was convicted of having illicit online contact with a 15-year-old North Carolina girl in 2017

B.C. communities push back against climate change damages campaign

Activists copying California case that was tossed out of court

B.C. VIEWS: Power politics wins over rational energy policy

B.C Hydro continues to face interference on rates

PR firm suspends contract with former B.C. premier amid groping accusation

Edelman says in a statement that Campbell has served as a special adviser to the firm since last July

James says B.C. budget puts priorities on NDP’s poverty, environment plans

She said she expected the government’s poverty reduction and climate change strategies to be priorities in the budget

PHOTOS: Day 1 of the 2019 Canada Winter Games in Red Deer

Games kicked off in Red Deer this week

Most Read