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.

Just Posted

Penticton’s second Snakebite festival hits the screen Jan. 31

Snakebite Film Festival showing LBGT, Indigenous and other diverse films

LETTER: Funds were borrowed from ICBC and B.C. Hydro

Method helped government hype but depleted needed money in the corporations

LETTER: Questions raised about high docks in Summerland

Public docks were replaced following damage from flooding on Okanagan Lake

Crosswalk coming to intersection near Penticton events centre

After years of plans a crosswalk is expected to be built on Alberni Street on Highway 97 this year

EDITORIAL: Revisiting Banks Crescent

Summerland had earlier considered controversial development at same location

VIDEO: Students in MAGA hats mock Native American at Indigenous Peoples March

Diocese in Kentucky says it is investigating the matter, caught on video by onlookers

Want to avoid the speculation tax on your vacant home? Rent it out, Horgan says

Premier John Horgan and Sheila Malcolmson say speculation and vacancy tax addresses homelessness

CONSUMER REPORT: What to buy each month in 2019 to save money

Resolve to buy all of the things you want and need, but pay less money for them

UPDATE: B.C. woman and boy, 6, found safe, RCMP confirm

Roseanne Supernault says both she and her six-year-old nephew are fine and she has contacted police

PHOTOS: Women’s Marches take to the streets across B.C. and beyond

Women and allies marched worldwide protesting violence against women, calling for equality

Anxiety in Alaska as endless aftershocks rattle residents

Seismologists expect the temblors to continue for months, although the frequency has lessened

Women’s March returns across the U.S. amid shutdown and controversy

The original march in 2017, the day after President Donald Trump’s inauguration, drew hundreds of thousands of people

Federal Liberals announce former B.C. MLA as new candidate in byelection

Richard Lee will face off against federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh

No winning ticket in $10 million Lotto Max jackpot

No win in Friday night’s draw means the next Lotto Max draw will be approximately $17 million

Most Read