B.C. Hydro chooses preferred proponent on second-largest Site C dam contract

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      Ten days after Premier John Horgan declared that the $10.7-billion Site C dam will be completed, B.C. Hydro has announced another major step forward.

      It has selected Aecon-Flatiron-Dragados-EBC Partnership as its "preferred proponent to move to the next phase for the Site C generation station and spillways (GSS) civil works contract".

      The value of the contract has not been announced because the Crown utility still hasn't reached a final agreement. It must be ratified by the B.C. Hydro board of directors.

      The consortium has already signed a labour agreement with the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 115, the Construction and Specialized Workers Union Local 1611, and the Construction Maintenance and Allied Workers Union.

      The International Union of Operating Engineers donated $123,520 to the NDP this year, according to the Elections B.C. website.

      Aecon Buildings, Aecon Group Inc., and Aecon Infrastructure donated $32,500 to the B.C. Liberals between 2009 and 2014. Flatiron Construction Canada Ltd. and Kiewit Flatiron General Partnership gave $12,800 to the B.C. Liberals since 2009.

      The companies have agreed to "prioritize hiring locally and within British Columbia, as well as providing opportunities for apprentices", B.C. Hydro said in a news release. "This includes a goal of up to 25 per cent apprenticeships on the project. There are also targets for Indigenous apprentices and employment."

      In 2015, Peace River Hydro Partners—a consortium of Petrowest Construction, Acciona Infrastructure Canada, and Samsung C&T Canada—won a competition to build the largest contract to date.

      Valued at $1.5 billion, it was to create an earth-filled dam, two diversion tunnels, a concrete foundation, and a spillway.

      As Integrity B.C.'s Dermod Travis noted on Straight.com in October, Peace River Hydro Partners has told B.C. Hydro that it "wouldn't meet the 2019 river diversion deadline, adding an additional $610 million to the project's costs".

      In 2009, B.C. Hydro estimated the cost of the Site C dam to be between $5 billion and $6.6 billion. It subsequently increased to $7.9 billion, $8.8. billion, and this month, $10.7 billion.