David Suzuki paddling to protest proposed Site C dam
Long-time environmentalistDavid Suzuki has confirmed he'll be at this year's Paddle for the Peace in order to protest the proposed Site C dam in northeastern B.C.
“We fought this battle 30 years ago and we won,” Suzuki told the Straight during an interview at CBC studios in downtown Vancouver. “I damn near drowned paddling for the Peace [River] back then. We didn't know that the river had been lowered. It was like a waterfall, and the two of us flipped two canoes and it was so frickin' cold, I'm telling you. By the time we got to the shore, we were shivering. But we stopped it.”
Suzuki will paddle again on July 14 in the same place on the river, as part of the seventh annual event organized by the West Moberly First Nations and the Peace Valley Environment Association. He'll also give a short speech. He said he couldn't predict whether environmentalists, First Nations, or other concerned citizens could stop construction of the dam, which would be the third on the Peace River. The $7.9-billion dam would produce 1,100 megawatts of power per year, which B.C. Hydro claims on its website would produce enough power for 450,000 homes in B.C. The project now awaits joint provincial and federal environmental assessment.
“I don't know,” Suzuki said of the prospects of stopping Site C a second time. “We've lost quite a few [environmental fights] and won very few.”
Suzuki criticized the B.C. government's plan, unveiled in February, which proposes that three liquefied natural gas (LNG) facilities be built by 2020. “Where the hell does she [Premier Christy Clark] think she'll get the power [to run the facilities]?” He claimed that Site C's so-called clean energy would be sucked up by industry if the LNG plan goes ahead as proposed.