B.C. NDP government announces Site C decision

B.C. NDP government announces Site C decision - image
Global News

UPDATE: Dec. 11 — The Site C dam will proceed, B.C. Premier John Horgan announced Monday.

Monday will be decision day for the controversial Site C dam.

Premier John Horgan has scheduled an 11:30 a.m. press conference at which he will announce whether the province will carry on with or scrap the $10-billion project.

The NDP cabinet has spent the last week in close consultation over a decision that Global BC chief legislative correspondent Keith Baldrey says will be a green light.

“I’ve talked to a couple of senior government officials over the weekend, I can tell you the dam is going to proceed. It will be completed, the NDP making a difficult decision.”

Balrdrey said the NDP faced a near impossible choice, with both options on the table likely to ruffle feathers.

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“This is one of the issues that’s a defining moment for the NDP. No matter what they do on this question they are bound to upset some people,” he said.

“It’s either going to upset the anti-Site C people, or its going to upset a lot of the building trade unions and the business community. So the cliché has been said over and over again, they’re damned if they do, damned if they don’t.”

The NDP avoided making any promises on Site C during the 2017 election campaign, and agreed in their power sharing deal with the Greens only to send the project to the BC Utilities Commission (BCUC).

A government-commissioned review by the BCUC found in November that the dam would likely miss its 2024 target completion date, and could exceed its original $8.3 billion budget by 20 to 50 per cent.

However, that review also determined that pulling the plug on the hydro project would cost about $4 billion, including money already spent.

READ MORE: Keith Baldrey: BC NDP look less like activists, more like government as Site C decision looms

Supporters have argued that the dam will create thousands of well-paying jobs and provide B.C. with much needed clean energy — particularly in the context of Canada’s Paris Agreement climate commitments.

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Opponents of the dam, including First Nations, environmentalists and the the BC Green Party have argued there is not enough energy demand for the dam, and that it will destroy sensitive ecosystems and valuable farmland.

Green Leader Andrew Weaver even went as far as to suggest on Sunday that NDP Energy Minister Michelle Mungall face a recall campaign if the party gives the dam the green light.

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