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Town hall hears Site C dam is a “$9 billion heist”

Council of Canadians organizer AJ Klein and Wilderness Committee campaign director Joe Foy address the town hall last night. Photo by Torrance Coste.

The Council of Canadians and Wilderness Committee held a town hall meeting last night on the Site C dam.

More than 200 people came out for the event!

The outreach for the event had noted, “There’s a heist happening in the province, a 9 billion dollar heist, and it’s going on right under our noses! Even worse, the head bandit in charge of this whole scam was put in charge by taxpayers. Christy Clark is taking us all for a ride, and she’s making a killing for her rich friends along the way. It’s up to all of us to stop her. Join Grand Chief Stewart Phillip with the Union of BC Indian Chiefs, Emma Gilchrist with DeSmog Blog, Ben Parfitt with the Canadian Centre for Policiy Alternatives, and Morag Keegan-Henry of Fight C for an evening of myth busting and truth telling. These folks will be cutting to the chase, and you’ll leave with some knowledge and tools to help put an end to this boondoggle.”

Last night, Vancouver-based Council of Canadians water campaigner Emma Lui posted on Facebook, “AJ Klein and Joe Foy from Wilderness Committee kick the evening off for the #SiteC townhall after beautiful welcome from Cecilia Point from Musqueam Nation.” The event was held on the traditional and unceded territories of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh people.

Lui also tweeted:

  • Grand Chief Stewart Phillip @UBCIC: British Columbians are going to get stuck with this $9B boondoggle. #SiteC #9billIHeist #bcpoli

  • @BenParfittCCPA: average cost over run for dams is 70%, and residents are going to pay the price. #SiteC

Site C is a proposed 60-metre high, 1,050-metre-long earth-filled dam and hydroelectric generation station on the Peace River between the communities of Hudson’s Hope and Taylor on Treaty 8 territory in northeastern British Columbia. It would create an 83-kilometre-long reservoir and flood about 5,550 hectares of agricultural land southwest of Fort St. John. It would also submerge 78 First Nations heritage sites, including burial grounds and places of cultural and spiritual significance. Logging and land clearing for the dam began last summer.

The Tyee has reported, “The BC Liberals told the federal-provincial Joint Review Panel and the public [in 2013] that the price of Site C power would be $83 a megawatt/hour when the cost of Site C was supposed to be $7.9 billion. When Clark announced Site C [in December 2014], the price had gone up to $8.8 billion [but] BC Hydro said the price of power produced by the dam would be $64 a megawatt/hour — 23 per cent less. Project cost up, power price down is not possible. Not remotely. But Clark says it with a straight face. That is Christy Clark energy policy in a nutshell.”

This summer, the Trudeau government granted a Navigation Protection Act permit and Fisheries Act permit for the construction of the Site C dam despite an ongoing legal challenge by the Prophet River and West Moberly First Nations against the dam in the Federal Court of Appeal.

Last week, Assembly of First Nations national chief Perry Bellegarde said, “I am standing with Treaty 8 First Nations and First Nations across the country in opposing this project and standing up for First Nations rights. This project ignores the legal requirement under Canadian law to fully assess impacts on Indigenous peoples’ rights.”

And earlier this week, Dene leaders in the Northwest Territories called for an immediate halt on construction of the dam saying it violates treaty rights on their traditional homeland.

The Council of Canadians first formally expressed its opposition to the Site C dam in October 2014. It the dam proceeds, Site C would be operational by 2024.