VANCOUVER-British Columbia’s New Democrat government has asked the province’s utilities commission to review the $8.8-billion Site C dam, throwing into doubt one of former premier Christy Clark’s major accomplishments.
Energy Minister Michelle Mungall says the regulator will be tasked with determining the economic viability of the megaproject, with interim results in six weeks and a final report in three months.
Mungall says the commission has been asked to confirm whether BC Hydro is on target to complete Site C on budget and by 2024, and provide advice on whether to proceed, suspend or terminate it.
The NDP campaigned on sending the project to the commission, a practice that was once standard in B.C., before the previous Liberal government’s clean energy laws allowed some major projects to bypass the regulatory agency.
The dam is two years into construction and employs more than 2,200 people in northeastern B.C., and former BC Hydro CEO Jessica McDonald has warned that a one-year delay would cost $630 million.
It would be the third dam on the Peace River, flooding an 83-kilometre stretch of valley, and has faced fierce opposition from local First Nations, landowners and farmers.