THE BC Greens said on Friday that Premier John Horgan’s decision to not cancel the Site C dam project in 2017 and steps taken since then have resulted in disastrous cost escalations and unprecedented secrecy. They noted that the government will continue the project despite an increased cost estimate of $16 billion.
“British Columbians should brace themselves, as this isn’t the last time they are going to hear about costs going up at Site C,” said Sonia Furstenau, Leader of the BC Greens and MLA for Cowichan Valley. “The issues facing Site C are significant and aren’t going away. There will be ongoing geotechnical problems impacting public safety, which will further escalate the costs.”
She added: “We’re not here by accident: a series of bad decisions and an ongoing trend of secrecy has gotten us to this point. There is no daylight between the BC NDP and the BC Liberals when it comes to Site C.
“It is a travesty that the BC NDP chose not to walk away from Site C in 2017. If the government had listened to the warnings of the BC Utilities Commission and other experts three years ago, we would not be where we are today. Instead they’ve chosen to throw good money after bad, adding billions of dollars to the price tag.
“$16 billion of taxpayer funds is a staggering amount of money. As jurisdictions around the world embrace small scale distributed renewable energy, the decision to funnel all our money into one unstable megadam keeps B.C. locked in the past and risks foregoing enormous opportunities throughout the province.
“We are continuing to see unprecedented secrecy around this project and it needs to stop. I’m appalled that the Premier is still attempting to mislead British Columbians about the cost drivers behind Site C, blaming it on COVID-19 rather than the well-known geotechnical risks that still face this dam.
“It’s important to remember that the cost of this decision goes well beyond $16 billion – the cost includes violating treaty rights in an era of reconciliation, the loss of the incredible biodiversity and the rich farmland in the region. These are significant costs that cannot easily be quantified.”