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.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Returning to the ice has ‘never been more important’ for Aldergrove minors

Aldergrove Minor Hockey Association’s Teresa O’Callaghan urges Langley Township to reopen ACUCC rink

Tools, guitars, $10,000 paint sprayer stolen in Langley thefts

Langley RCMP also have a lost diamond ring and are looking for the owner

UPDATED: Missing teen who went to Langley mall found safe

Mother said the 17-year-old is diabetic and didn’t have his insulin

‘Do our lives count for less?’: COVID-19 exposes cracks in disability aid

In July, Parliament approved a $600 payment for people with disabilities facing additional expenses during COVID-19

Agreement between province, BC Hydro, First Nation, ends legal fight over Site C

B.C. will work to improve land management and restore traditional place names in areas of cultural significance

BREAKING: Reported stabbing in Harrison Hot Springs

Police chase ran through Agassiz, witnesses say

B.C. conservation officers free not-so-wily coyote

Poor pup was found with a glass jar stuck on its head in Maple Ridge

Fraser Valley Bandits clinch first round bye with win

Bandits defeat Guelph 84-70, advance to the CEBL semifinals on Saturday

B.C. doctors, dentists call on province for mandatory mask rule

Open letter says masks should be worn in indoor public spaces, public transportation or in crowds

Dwindling B.C. bamboo supply leaves Calgary Zoo biologists worried about pandas

Zoo has been trying to send pandas back to China since May

Maple Ridge firefighting camp empowers young women

Camp Ignite to take place at Justice Institute on Sunday, Aug. 9

Most Read