Site C Dam review: Wetlands in danger
The controversial Site C Dam would cause harm to the local environment, but would be an asset for generations to come according to a joint review of the proposal. (ADAM DIETRICH/ SUN MEDIA)
A review of the Site C Dam proposal for Northern British Columbia says a number of environmental and aboriginal issues are at risk if the project moves forward.
Concerns about negative effects to wetlands and other ecological areas were outlined in a 457-page review released Thursday by the Joint Review Panel.
The project would flood an 83-kilometre stretch of the Peace River, but according to the review, the dam, proposed for west of Fort St. John, would provide power for future generations,
B.C. Energy Minister Bill Bennett said the report was “mostly positive” and stressed the project’s value to future generations.
“We were pleased with that, there are a number of comments like that in the report,” Bennett said. “It’s not all positive, they definitely identify some environmental impact and impact on First Nations — we know we have a lot of work to do.”
The project has received mixed reviews, with the Sierra Club of BC saying it was happy the review acknowledged the environmental impact of the dam, as well as effects on First Nations.
But the organization took issue with effects the dam could have on food supply.
“We are disappointed that the panel chose to underplay the impacts on B.C. agriculture and food security,” said the Sierra Club in a release. “Site C would flood or impact more than 30,000 acres of some of the best farmland in B.C. More than 50% of B.C.’s food is currently being imported, much of it from California.”
BC Hydro released a statement late Thursday in which president and CEO Charles Reid said he was “pleased” with the outcome of the review.
Reid said the project will meet the long-term energy needs of the province.
The project will now go to the provincial and federal government and could be given environmental certification by October.
But Victoria would still need to decide if it wants to embark down the path to construct the $7.9 billion dam.