Economy

Decision time for John Horgan on Site C dam

Decision time for John Horgan on Site C dam”

MINISTER of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources Michelle Mungall in a statement on the final report of the Site C review, which was released on Wednesday by the British Columbia Utilities Commission (BCUC), said the government faces an "extremely hard decision" to determine whether Site C is in the best interests of British Columbians after considering the BCUC's findings and other issues outside the scope of this review.

The independent body, which is responsible for making sure B.C. residents pay fair rates for energy and ICBC costs, released its review of the controversial megaproject on Wednesday. It describes the option of suspending work and restarting it in 2024 as the "least attractive of the three scenarios" set out by the government.

The B.C. agency tasked with reviewing the 1,100-megawatt Site C hydroelectric dam has called into question many of BC Hydro's core claims and forecasts about the project.

The report also recommends other forms of energy, such as wind, geothermal, and industrial curtailment usage, potentially providing similar benefits for ratepayers.

In a statement, Energy and Mines Minister Michelle Mungall says this will be an extremely hard decision to make by the NDP.

Mungall said that in keeping with the report's findings, suspension of the project is now off the table - leaving only completion or cancellation as a final option.

Mungal said she and Scott Fraser, the minister of Indigenous relations and reconciliation, will meet this month with Treaty 8 First Nations that are impacted by the project and take other First Nations interests into account. "We are going to take the time we need to make a decision on Site C that works for B.C. families, businesses and the sustainability of our environment and economy".

Mungall said the commission's findings are based on 620 written and 304 oral submissions from individuals and organizations, as well as thousands of pages of information.

It also raised concerns about the dam's financing, noting that B.C. Hydro had underestimated the cost of a key contract and had already used up 45 per cent of its $794 million contingency budget in just two years.

The government will now examine the report in detail and consult with First Nations before choosing how to proceed. Work continued while the review was underway.

Earlier in October, B.C. Hydro admitted it would miss a critical construction milestone to divert the Peace River by 2019, a delay it said would not interfere with the final completion date, but one that will add $600 million to the final tab, bringing it to $8.9 billion.



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