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B.C. Election 2017

Christy Clark campaigns on jobs from Site C dam

Larry Pynn, Postmedia Network

Liberal leader Christy Clark greets workers as she makes a campaign stop at Inland Concrete in Fort St. John, B.C., Tuesday, April 18, 2017.  (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)

Liberal leader Christy Clark greets workers as she makes a campaign stop at Inland Concrete in Fort St. John, B.C., Tuesday, April 18, 2017. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)

FORT ST. JOHN -- Liberal Leader Christy Clark said Tuesday the Site C dam is about jobs and green energy, as she brushed aside criticism that the project is financially wasteful and unnecessary.

Speaking before about 40 supporters in hard hats at a concrete plant in Fort St. John, Clark said the project will employ thousands of workers and represents a clear divide between the policies of the Liberals and the NDP and Greens.

She promised it would continue to keep hydro rates among the lowest in North America and follows in the forward-looking tradition of former premier WAC Bennett.

The NDP wants Site C referred to the B.C. Utilities Commission on the question of need. The Greens dismiss the project as a subsidy for the LNG export sector.

Outside the cement plant about a dozen Site C opponents carried placards.

Hydro spokesman Dave Conway said $4 billion is already committed to the project including $1.5 billion spent to the end of 2016.

Hydro Site C senior construction manager Bob Peever told reporters during a tour of the site that about five kilometres of the Peace River and three kilometres of the Moberly River have been logged to date. About eight million of an anticipated 40 million cubic metres of material have been moved. About 2,000 people are working on the site, rising to 3,500 in 2019, he said.

Peever said much of the current work involves preparing for pouring concrete for the powerhouse infrastructure this summer.

Freeze-up is making for especially muddy conditions on site and contributing to an ongoing problem with sediments entering fish-bearing waters.

The 60-metre-high dam is expected to produce 1,100 megawatts by 2023.

Lpynn@postmedia.com