Artist’s rendering of the Site C dam, the third hydro dam on the Peace River that started construction in 2015. (BC Hydro)

Site C decision coming Monday

Premier John Horgan to announce fate of dam project at B.C. legislature

Premier John Horgan will make his long-awaited decision on the Site C dam project at 11:30 a.m. Monday.

Furious lobbying from proponents and opponents of the third dam on the Peace River has continued since The B.C. Utilities Commission released its independent report on the project Nov. 1, ordered by Horgan to fulfil a promise he has repeated many times since becoming NDP leader.

That report confirmed that the project is over its original $8.3 billion budget, up to nearly $10 billion, and behind schedule, but BC Hydro CEO Chris O’Riley told the commission it can still be completed by the original target of 2024.

The BCUC concluded that stopping Site C and remediating the site would cost $4 billion, and B.C. Hydro would then have to embark on other clean energy projects to keep up with demand.

B.C. Green Party leader Andrew Weaver, who supported Site C when it was announced by former premier Gordon Campbell in 2009, has turned into a harsh critic of the dam.

Weaver posted a 2016 video on his Facebook page Sunday, showing now-NDP Energy Minister Michelle Mungall participating in a protest against the dam, an annual event called Paddle for the Peace.

“I would suggest a recall campaign in Nelson-Creston would be in order if Site C is approved on her watch as energy minister,” Weaver wrote, posting a phone number for Mungall’s constituency office to lodge protests.

Despite his objections about the cost and questions about power demand, Weaver has said repeatedly he will not withdraw the support of the three-member B.C. Green caucus, which could cause Horgan’s NDP government to be defeated and force a new election.

B.C. Liberal leadership candidates have strongly supported completion of Site C, which was driven by former premier Christy Clark in an effort to get the project “past the point of no return” before the 2017 election.

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