Today I received a letter from Premier Clark in which she requested I respond to questions regarding the construction of the Site C Dam.
Premier Clark’s letter follows one sent last week by John Horgan, leader of the B.C. NDP, to Jessica McDonald, President and CEO of B.C. Hydro, requesting the delay of the destruction of two homes pending future review of the Site C Dam by the B.C. Utilities Commission.
Last week, I signed a Confidence and Supply Agreement, indicating that the B.C. Green Caucus would support confidence and supply measures introduced by a potential B.C. NDP minority government. As part of the agreement, both parties agreed that the Site C Dam construction project should be referred to the BC Utilities Commission on the question of economic viability and consequences to British Columbians in the context of the current supply and demand conditions prevailing in the B.C. market. The B.C. Liberal government chose not to put the dam to independent evaluation by the BCUC before moving forward with the project.
Below is a copy of the letter that I sent back to Premier Clark.
June 6, 2017
The Honourable Christy Clark
Premier of British Columbia
Victoria, BC V8V 1X4
Dear Premier Clark,
Thank you for your letter in response to Mr. Horgan’s request to delay the relocation of two homes pending future review of the Site C Dam by the BC Utilities Commission.
While I was neither privy to, nor involved in, writing Mr. Horgan’s letter to Ms. McDonald, you will know that for four years I have raised significant and substantive concerns regarding the economics of the Site C project.
Your government has chosen to proceed with the costliest public works project in BC history without adequately analysing its economic viability. Even the chair of the Federal-Provincial Joint Review Panel that reviewed the Site C Dam, Dr. Harry Swain, has criticised the process for not sufficiently evaluating the project’s economic case. In the face of these significant concerns, and despite numerous calls for an independent review by the BC Utilities Commissions, you are about to apparently move the project to the “point of no return”.
Please let me express my disappointment in how your government is choosing to proceed with this project. Your government is turning a significant capital project that potentially poses massive economic risks to British Columbians, into a political debate rather than one informed by evidence and supported by independent analysis.
Your letter asserts that delaying the relocation of two homes will cost BC Hydro ratepayers an estimated $600 million due to the project delay. You further request an indication of my position on the matter.
Before I can comment on these assertions, I require access to the supporting evidence, including but not limited to the signed contracts, the project schedule and the potential alternative project timelines that could allow an independent review to be conducted at minimal cost to the ratepayer.
In addition, I would need briefing notes on the status of existing delays including those associated with the stability of the north bank as well as the acquisition of and compliance with any environmental permits.
I would be pleased to answer your questions on the assumption that the information requested will be forthcoming in a timely manner.
Dr. Andrew Weaver, OBC, FRSC
Leader, BC Green Party