Environment Minister George Heyman, Premier John Horgan and Energy Minister Michelle Mungall announce decision to proceed with construction of the Site C dam, B.C. legislature library, Dec. 11, 2017. (Ragnar Haagen/Black Press)

Site C dam goes ahead, cost estimate now up to $10.7 billion

Premier John Horgan says Christy Clark left him no other choice

B.C. Premier John Horgan has given the green light to completion of the Site C hydroelectric dam, after B.C. Hydro revised its cost estimate upward by more than $1 billion.

The B.C. NDP cabinet has struggled with the decision, with the project two years in and facing a cost of $4 billion to shut down construction of the third dam on the Peace River and put the site back the way it was.

After hearing from experts for weeks, the government faced an estimate that B.C. Hydro rates are already expected to rise 30 per cent over the next 10 years without the costs of Site C.

If the dam is halted, rates would go up another 12 per cent by 2020 to pay the cost. That translates to an extra $198 per year for an average single-family house.

RELATED: How Christy Clark made Site C unstoppable

When it proceeds, government officials expect the additional rate increase would be 6.5 per cent when the dam goes into service in 2024. B.C. Hydro would likely apply to the B.C. Utilities Commission to “smooth” that rate increase, raising it in smaller steps to pay for the dam.

Horgan blasted the previous B.C. Liberal government for “megaproject mismanagement” that left the NDP government with little choice.

“It’s clear that Site C should never have been started,” Horgan said. “But to cancel it now would add billions to the province’s debt – putting at risk our ability to deliver housing, child care, schools and hospitals across B.C. And that’s a price we’re not willing to pay.”

The risk reserve for Site C has been increased by $700 million to prepare for further costs increases.

B.C. Liberal critic Mike Bernier, MLA for Peace River South, said the project had been studied for a decade and 2,000 families and Peace region businesses have been left with uncertainty while the new government’s review carried on.

B.C. Liberal finance critic Tracy Redies, a former B.C. Hydro board member, said the NDP’s review confirmed that with projected growth in electricity demand, B.C. will need the equivalent of nine Site C dams by 2050.

B.C. Green Party leader Andrew Weaver said proceeding with Site C was a result of the NDP “pandering for votes” by taking $4.7 billion of Port Mann bridge debt onto the government books to cancel bridge tolls.

Now the province can’t afford the $4 billion cost of stopping the dam, and it has two bad policies based on political expediency, Weaver said.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Lacarya Ladies Night golf report for June 7

There were 16 golfers out for Ladies Night on June 7. It… Continue reading

‘Daddy bonus’ common in B.C. workplaces, study finds

UBC researchers say dads don’t have to be number one in the office to get a raise

B.C. turns up the heat

Environment Canada has issued a special weather statement for most the province due to high temperatures

Updated: RCMP find body of missing woman who fell into B.C. River

The body of Jessie Lavallee was found in the North Thompson River south of Barriere

Updated: RCMP find body of missing woman who fell into B.C. River

The body of Jessie Lavallee was found in the North Thompson River south of Barriere

Homeless people living on ‘Surrey Strip’ move into modular housing

BC Housing says 160 homeless people are being moved into temporary Whalley suites from June 19 to 21

Port of Prince Rupert names Shaun Stevenson as new CEO

Stevenson has worked for the port for 21 years as vice president of trade development

Senate officially passes Canada’s marijuana legalization bill

Bill C-45 now moves to royal assent, which is the final step in the legislative process

Fake attempted abduction not funny to B.C. neighbourhood residents

Two teenage boys won’t face criminal charges after scaring girl

Mosquitoes out in full force already? Blame the weather

But a B.C. mosquito expert says the heat wave will help keep the pests at bay

Man pleads not guilty in 1987 slayings of B.C. couple

William Talbott of SeaTac was arraigned Tuesday in Snohomish County Superior Court

New GOP plan: Hold kids longer at border – but with parents

Move would ease rules that limit how much time minors can be held with their parents

Without a big data strategy, Canadians at risk of being ‘data cows’

Presentation said artificial intelligence could give Facebook and Amazon even more power

Five B.C. families stuck in Japan as Canada refuses visas for adopted babies

Lawyer points to change in American policy around adoptions from Japan

Most Read