Photo shows a suspension bridge across the Peace River that collapsed in 1957 after the soil on one side slid. The dotted line shows the scarp of the slide. The bridge was less than 30 km downstream from the site of the proposed Site C dam. Facebook photo

Site C would be B.C.’s very own Titanic

Mr. Milobar trots out the only potential advantage – a few short term jobs

Editor, The Times:

Re: “Milobar urges Site C completion” in Nov. 9 issue.

Some traditions recognize that mankind creates its own reality through its beliefs, hopes, dreams, or whatever.

Sometimes the situation is a bit like a guy sitting at a blackjack table. He knows that the dealer is holding cards that add up to 20 and he’s got 17.

What does he do? Hoping against hope, he says, “Hit me.” As expected, he loses. The results could be disastrous, depending on how many of his family’s assets he has put on the line. But, at least he was able to dream, however briefly.

Our new MLA, Mr. Milobar, is just like that deluded gambler. After all that has been revealed through the Utilities Commission’s public hearings, including the hopeless prospects for Site C ever becoming economically viable and the dim to non-existent prospect of the province ever needing the power, Mr. Milobar still trots out the only potential advantage – a few short term jobs. That’s it!

That’s the BC Liberals’ justification-for-anything. Never mind the fact that putting the provincial neck into the noose of the Site C project will surely dampen economic prospects, all around.

One huge factor that seems to escape public attention is the fantastically unstable nature of the soils around the dam location at Site C.

READ MORE: Milobar, Liberals urge NDP to complete Site C project

READ MORE: Cheaper to cancel B.C.’s Site C dam than delay: report

Several giant cracks (one of them 400 meters long) have opened in the soils at the dam site. It was unsafe for the workers and they were moved away from the area. These unstable soils have caused delay after delay since Day One at Site C, and they threaten more delays and huge cost overruns – but Milobar isn’t impressed by overruns, is he?

The crux of the matter is that the weak soil structures will always be a part of any Site C. Even when some hard-hat-wearing, clipboard-carrying suit looks up and says, “It’s stable now”, the weakness will always be present.

Just consider the stresses that a dam, holding a wall of water 60 meters high and 85 km long, will put onto those soils and you’ll get the picture. Site C is B.C.’s very own Titanic. It’s only a matter of time it hits the metaphorical iceberg.

To call the engineering acumen of the BC Liberals “pathetic” would be complimentary, if it didn’t result in major disasters. A good example is the Mt. Polley mine disaster – the worst tailings pond spill in Canadian history. The Mt. Polley tailings pond dam was built on a layer of weak glacial till and it failed.

To boot, the Liberals also approved the Red Chris mine in northwest B.C., which includes building a tailings dam on similarly unsuitable soil.

Maybe, just maybe, B.C. has entered a new period of relative sanity. However, I still need to ask myself whether Kamloops-North Thompson will derive any benefit from having elected a MLA who’s showing very clear signs of delusion. Milobar has just said, “Hit me!” to the dealer.

David Simms

Clearwater, B.C.

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