July 9, 2014
On July 9, the District of Hudson's Hope called on Premier Christy Clark to refer the proposed $7.9 billion Site C dam project to the British Columbia Utilities Commission (BCUC) to determine whether this project is needed and whether BC taxpayers can afford it. The BCUC must also be given the mandate to complete a thorough review of the comparative costs and benefits of potential alternatives to the proposed Site C project.
"Before spending $7.9 billion of taxpayers money on the proposed Site C dam and increasing the already enormous $62 billion provincial debt, the provincial government needs to do its homework to see if there are less costly alternatives", said Hudson's Hope Mayor Gwen Johansson.
"BC Hydro has readily available generation capacity to meet demand until 2028", said Mayor Johansson, "There is no crisis. Let's adopt the recommendations of the Joint Review Panel and allow the BCUC to do the job it was set up to do. Let's do our homework before we spend $7.9 billion dollars of taxpayer's money on what could well turn out to be a white elephant."
The District of Hudson's Hope, a community of 1,100 people in the heart of the beautiful Peace River Valley, will be impacted more than any other municipality by the proposed Site C dam. Mayor Johansson noted, "The proposed Site C project would result in irreversible community and environmental impacts on the Peace River Valley, including some that may be impossible to mitigate."
The most exhaustive review of the proposed Site C project was conducted by the Site C Joint Review Panel (JRP) appointed by the provincial and federal governments. Their report was released on May 1, 2014. Given that 457-page report's complexity, the District engaged Urban Systems to conduct a review of the JRP's findings. A backgrounder on the Urban Systems Site C Report is attached. Urban Systems found,
"Based on a review of the JRP's findings, available literature and other relevant information, the Urban Systems report concurs with the independent Site C Joint Review Panel: critical questions about the proposed Site C project and viable alternatives remain unanswered."
In light of these uncertainties, the District of Hudson's Hope, with support from Urban Systems, went on to review alternative energy futures including retrofits and upgrades, geothermal, renewables and energy conservation, natural gas/cogeneration, solar energy and micro grids.
"Our review clearly indicates that alternatives to Site C deserve much more serious consideration than they have received to date", said Mayor Johansson, " Some options have the potential to save BC taxpayers billions of dollars while at the same time avoiding the negative impacts of Site C. Some very promising options, for example, geothermal, were inadequately investigated because of restrictive BC government policies."
"A full review by the BCUC of alternatives to the $7.9 billion proposed Site C dam is the minimum taxpayers should expect from a government with a Triple-A credit rating", said Mayor Johansson.
Location of Site C Dam and Reservoir: www.sitecproject.com/about-site-c/maps
More Information on Hudson's Hope Website: hudsonshope.ca
For more information :
District of Hudson's Hope
Box 330, 9904 100th Avenue
Hudson's Hope, British Columbia
Canada, V0C 1V0