Wilderness Committee’s Joe Foy wants Site C dam meetings held B.C.-wide

The Wilderness Committee’s national campaign director says it’s “undemocratic and foolish” that B.C. Hydro isn’t holding public meetings provincewide on the Site C dam project.

“We don’t think the project guidelines are robust enough to take into account the fact that so much damage has already been done to the Peace River country,” Joe Foy told the Straight by phone. “You’ve had two other dams up there. The place is pockmarked to the extreme with fracking oil and gas operations. The Peace River is sort of this green strip down the middle, which would be flooded under Site C. So, what we believe is that certainly southern cities, who will be asked to foot the bill of this thing, should be brought into it [through public consultation].”

Four open houses on the $7.9-billion public project took place mid April in Prince George, Fort St. John, Hudson’s Hope, Dawson Creek, and Chetwynd. They focused on project planning and the joint federal-provincial environmental-assessment process.

None were scheduled in southern cities, even though “Site C would require the largest single deletion of agricultural land in the province’s history—over 5,000 acres of prime agricultural land pulled out of the ALR [Agricultural Land Reserve],” according to Foy.

“This is something that really concerns southern B.C. people, because we’ve all faced similar attacks on farmland, although not as big as Site C,” Foy added. “So, I just think it’s terrible that people in the majority of the province, their views are not being asked for. I think it’s setting us up for a colossal financial mistake, a colossal environmental mistake, and, by the way, a colossal human-rights mistake. Because First Nations in the territory around the dam site are united in their opposition to the dam, as are the people who live in the valley that will be flooded—the farmers and the ranchers and such.”

B.C. environment minister Terry Lake didn’t respond to a Straight interview request by deadline.

Jordan Bateman, B.C. director for the Canadian Taxpayers Federation and a former Langley Township councillor, said he “would not comment” on the cost estimates for Site C.

“But on the public hearings, our general philosophy is that the public hearings should be held in the directly affected areas,” Bateman told the Straight by phone. “I’m comfortable just having the public meetings near where the actual dam is going to be built, but obviously allowing feedback from anyone who cares enough to write in.”



Lynn Chapman

May 17, 2012 at 6:26pm

Interesting that Jordan Bateman of Canadian Taxpayers Federation doesn't think that the majority of the people of BC who will be paying through their taxes and increasing BC Hydro rates should be informed and consulted on an $8 BILLION project for which the justification for the public does not exist. I wonder if it's democracy for some but not for others?

0 0Rating: 0