During the last two weeks of the legislative session, the BC Greens raised the issue of Site C on several occasions, presenting an abundance of evidence in favour of cancelling the biggest boondoggle in BC’s history.
Question 1: Cancelling Site C will create more jobs in BC
Last week, the BC Green caucus sent a letter to Premier Horgan, urging him and his government to stop construction on Site C.
The full letter is available here: BC Green Caucus Letter to NDP Regarding Site C
I truly hope that the NDP will take seriously the evidence, so much of which undeniably points to the reasons why Site C must be cancelled. The main points of our letter are:
- The potential costs – and cost overruns – are too much of a risk. The lessons from Muskrat Falls in Newfoundland are sobering and serious, and the ratepayers in that province are going to see steep increases in their hydro rates – an average of $1800/year – as a result of pushing a project forward that should have been stopped. (See “The Startling Similarities Between Muskrat Falls Boondoggle and Site C Dam”).
- There are alternatives to Site C that can provide clean, distributed energy to BC while providing significantly higher numbers of permanent jobs in communities across the province. (See UBC Report, released November 17)
- Ultimately, the BC NDP government needs to make a choice between embracing a 20th-century approach to power generation or a 21st-century approach to energy policy. We believe that BC could be an innovation leader, but to do so, the government will need to chart a new path, rather than continue with the path of the BC Liberals.
Question 2: Muskrat Falls and Site C – we can choose a different path.
Two summers ago, my family and I traveled to the Peace River Valley. We’d been hearing about the controversy around Site C, and having never been to the region, we thought it was important to see the area ourselves, and to talk with the people who live there.
By the time our trip was over, I’d reached the conclusion that Site C should not proceed, and I’d decided that I was going to run for the BC Greens.
The Peace is a spectacularly beautiful, diverse, awe-inspiring part of our province.
But beauty is not the Peace Valley’s only asset. The biodiversity of this region means that the ecological impacts of Site C will be that much more damaging, and the loss of the valuable agricultural land is something that needs to be taken very seriously in this time of growing global food scarcity.
The West Moberly and Prophet River First Nations have made it clear that they will proceed with a lawsuit against the BC government if the project moves forward, adding another potential ballooning cost to be added to the billions.
And there are potential impacts to communities across BC, as outlined by Mayor Bob Simpson in his article “How Site C Will Hurt BC’s Forest Towns.” Ultimately, moving ahead with Site C would save temporary jobs while putting thousands of permanent jobs across BC at risk, particularly in regions supported by the forestry industry – which is the concern I heard from Catalyst Pulp and Paper Mill, the Cowichan Valley’s biggest employer, when I took a tour a few weeks ago.
So what does Site C bring us?
- Climbing costs and increasing risks.
- Ballooning debt from an unnecessary boondoggle.
- Fewer jobs across BC.
- Escalating hydro rates.
- Undermining UNDRIP commitments.
- A less diversified energy future.
- Devastation of agricultural land.
The BC NDP can, and should, let the evidence be their guide.
They can, and should, Cancel Site C.