Site C dam completion one step closer with diversion tunnel breakthrough
Project still faces court challenge from First Nations in the region
The construction of a controversial project on the Peace River in northeastern British Columbia is one step closer to completion.
Over the weekend, BC Hydro completed digging a 700-metre long tunnel. It's one of two tunnels that will reroute the river while the Site C dam is being built. BC Hydro says breakthrough on the second tunnel is due next month. In a video released this week, they say they've reached a critical milestone.
Joe Foy, co-executive director of the Wilderness Committee says he opposes diversion of the Peace River and says despite the breakthrough, it's important to continue to protect First Nations territory and way of life from further damage.
"This project is so egregious, I think it's time to put it on hold. There are better ways to get the electricity," says Foy.
"I think we need to look inside ourselves ... it's an insult to the Indigenous people," says Foy.
Although, the water is still usable by boaters, Foy says it's not enough.
"They've taken some care for boaters, while they destroy the river valley," he says.
Pressure on government to put project on hold
Site C is still subject to two civil lawsuits from First Nations with court dates set for 2022.
Last year, a UN committee warned that the construction of the dam may violate international agreements on the right to free and informed consent with Indigenous peoples.
The dam is expected to power the equivalent of almost half a million homes a year when it is completed.