Nestled in the northeast corner of British Columbia, the beautiful Peace River Valley is home to First Nations’ territories, fertile agricultural lands and farms, old-growth boreal forests and is one of the most important wildlife corridors in the Yellowstone to Yukon migration corridor chain.
But the beautiful Peace River Valley is under threat. There are already two huge dams on the Peace and now BC Hydro is building a third dam, in the heart of this spectacular valley. The proposed 60-meter high Site C mega dam would flood over 100 km of river valley, drowning a land area equal to 14 Stanley Parks and risking landslides as the banks of the reservoir erode over time.
The land in question happens to be some of the best agricultural lands in northern BC, with the only class one soil north of Quesnel.
So how did this destructive project get approval?
On October 14, 2014, the governments of both BC and Canada announced that the Site C dam had been granted environmental assessment approval – despite the Joint Review Panel's acknowledgement that the project would cause irreparable harm to local First Nations, fish and wildlife populations and that no need for the power had been shown.
In December 2014 the BC provincial government of Premier Christy Clark gave the go-ahead for construction of the dam.
In May 2017 British Columbian's elected a new government headed by a new leader - Premier John Horgan, on a promise to put the Site C dam project before the BC Utilities Commission for an independent review of its costs vs benefits.
On November 1, 2017 the BC Utilities Commission (BCUC) released their findings. The BCUC found that $2 billion had been spent on the dam project to date and that the estimated cost to complete the dam would likely balloon to well over $10 billion. The BCUC report suggested that the $2 billion already spent could be paid back out over a 30 year period and so could costs associated with repairing the valley should the new BC government decide to cancel the dam project. The BCUC found that there is currently no need for additional power and if or when there was a need for more power then smaller alternative power projects that would be cleaner than Site C, as cost-effective or more cost-effective as Site C - but that would not end up flooding the Peace River Valley could be used.
It seemed as if the Site C dam was finally dead in the water.
But then on December 13, 2017, Premier Horgan announced that the Site C dam project was going to be completed, claiming government concerns over a requirement to pay off the $2 billion already spent immediately should the dam be cancelled.
Many people across the province are in shock over this terrible decision.
We can’t let this happen. The Site C dam would flood critical habitat that has sustained wildlife that has supplied generations of First Nations people with food and cultural sustenance for thousands of years. It would destroy one of the largest and most important wildlife corridors on the continent, and submerge valuable carbon sinks instead of promoting food security and the need to adapt to climate change.
BC already has enough electricity for our needs. BC has lost too much farmland and wildlife habitat to industrial projects. Let’s look at alternatives that make sense. Let’s keep the Peace flowing and the Peace Valley abundant and green.
Google Map of Proposed Site C Dam on the Peace River
Proposed reservoir is shown in orange, while the proposed powerline is a thin, dark red line, and the proposed dam site is a thicker, medium red colour just southwest of Fort St. John.
View Site C Dam in a larger map
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