Environment Minister George Heyman, Premier John Horgan and Energy Minister Michelle Mungall announce decision to proceed with construction of the Site C dam, B.C. legislature library, Dec. 11, 2017. (Ragnar Haagen/Black Press)

Site C dam goes ahead, cost estimate now up to $10.7 billion

Premier John Horgan says Christy Clark left him no other choice

B.C. Premier John Horgan has given the green light to completion of the Site C hydroelectric dam, after B.C. Hydro revised its cost estimate upward by more than $1 billion.

The B.C. NDP cabinet has struggled with the decision, with the project two years in and facing a cost of $4 billion to shut down construction of the third dam on the Peace River and put the site back the way it was.

After hearing from experts for weeks, the government faced an estimate that B.C. Hydro rates are already expected to rise 30 per cent over the next 10 years without the costs of Site C.

If the dam is halted, rates would go up another 12 per cent by 2020 to pay the cost. That translates to an extra $198 per year for an average single-family house.

RELATED: How Christy Clark made Site C unstoppable

When it proceeds, government officials expect the additional rate increase would be 6.5 per cent when the dam goes into service in 2024. B.C. Hydro would likely apply to the B.C. Utilities Commission to “smooth” that rate increase, raising it in smaller steps to pay for the dam.

Horgan blasted the previous B.C. Liberal government for “megaproject mismanagement” that left the NDP government with little choice.

“It’s clear that Site C should never have been started,” Horgan said. “But to cancel it now would add billions to the province’s debt – putting at risk our ability to deliver housing, child care, schools and hospitals across B.C. And that’s a price we’re not willing to pay.”

The risk reserve for Site C has been increased by $700 million to prepare for further costs increases.

B.C. Liberal critic Mike Bernier, MLA for Peace River South, said the project had been studied for a decade and 2,000 families and Peace region businesses have been left with uncertainty while the new government’s review carried on.

B.C. Liberal finance critic Tracy Redies, a former B.C. Hydro board member, said the NDP’s review confirmed that with projected growth in electricity demand, B.C. will need the equivalent of nine Site C dams by 2050.

B.C. Green Party leader Andrew Weaver said proceeding with Site C was a result of the NDP “pandering for votes” by taking $4.7 billion of Port Mann bridge debt onto the government books to cancel bridge tolls.

Now the province can’t afford the $4 billion cost of stopping the dam, and it has two bad policies based on political expediency, Weaver said.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC HydroBC legislatureSite C

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

Just Posted

Best of the City: This year’s winners

Nanaimo News Bulletin presents full results of our 2020 Best of the City readers’ survey

Nanaimo under a thunderstorm watch tonight

Environment Canada forecasts downpour and possible thunder and lightning

B.C. Greens hurrying to get candidates in place for provincial election

No candidates announced yet in Nanaimo, Nanaimo-North Cowichan or Parksville-Qualicum

B.C. reports 91 new cases as officials remain worried over ‘clusters of COVID-19

There have now been a total of 8,395 cases in B.C. since the pandemic began

Canada’s active COVID-19 cases top 10,000 as daily new cases triple over the past month

Dr. Tam repeated her warning to young people, who have made up the majority of recent cases

First 8 months of fatal overdoses in B.C. have now exceeded 2019 death toll

Nine people died every two days in August, BC Coroners Service data shows

Cops for Cancer: COVID-19 can’t stop Tour de Rock

‘having the chance to come back and ride this year means everything to me’

Masks and temperature checks now mandatory to enter Nanaimo’s Woodgrove Centre

Mall says it’s the first in B.C. to put the measures in place

Nanaimo RCMP shut down illegal racing and stunt driving site at Duke Point

Police “swoop in” to seize vehicles and issue violation tickets

Snuneymuxw, province sign land transfer agreement that includes parts of Mount Benson

First Nation sees economic development opportunities through forestry partnerships

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Liberal effort to reset policy agenda panned by rivals as too much talk, not action

Trudeau said it’s ‘all too likely’ families won’t be able to gather for Thanksgiving next month

Most Read