BCUC unveils their final report of the Site C dam

11/1/2017

The BCUC says the $8.3-billion Site C dam is not likely to be finished by 2024.

The findings come today after the utilities commission released their report. The report goes on to say it could cost somewhere between 20-50% more than has been budgeted for the project.

The NDP government asked the commission to examine megaproject, which was a signature job-creation project led by former Premier Christy Clark.

The commission was asked to confirm whether BC Hydro is on target to complete Site C on budget and by 2024.

It was also asked to provide advice on three possible outcomes: proceeding with the project, suspending construction and keeping the option open to resume until 2024, or terminating the project and proceeding with other energy options.

The commission then goes on to say suspending and restarting the project in 2024 is the least attractive option. The scenario adds at least $3.6 billion to final costs and is by far the most expensive of the three.

The commission's findings are based on more than 600 written and more than 300 oral submissions from individuals and organizations.

It doesn't make a recommendation on whether the province should proceed with or cancel the dam, but it says terminating the project would cost $1.8 billion while completing it could cost more than $10 billion.

The commission says it increasingly believes viable alternative energy sources including wind, geothermal and industrial curtailment could provide similar benefits with an equal or lower cost.

The government has the final say on the fate of the project. Energy Minister Michelle Mungall says she anticipates a decision by the end of the year.

The NDP campaigned on having the project reviewed by the commission.

The commission was required to consult with interested parties, including First Nations, and it held public hearings across the province.

The dam is two years into construction and employs more than 2,000 people in northeastern B.C.

It would be the third dam on the Peace River, flooding an 83-kilometre stretch of valley. It has faced fierce opposition from local First Nations, landowners and farmers. BC Hydro has said $1.8 billion has already been spent on construction.