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Response to Premier Clark’s Site C Letter

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
West Annex
Parliament Buildings
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.

Best wishes,
Dr. Andrew Weaver, OBC, FRSC
Leader, BC Green Party

50 Comments

  1. Carol Froese-Reply
    June 13, 2017 at 7:10 pm

    Excellent response. Has anyone thought about making all new construction be it residential or commercial buildings install solar power. The government could set up a rebate program on all these structures. The owners of said building would have cheap power and all overages are sold to BC Hydro. Of course they would have backup systems in place in case there isn’t enough sunshine. I haven’t crunched any numbers but watching documentaries and reading about it I am convinced it’s something to consider.

  2. June 10, 2017 at 8:28 pm

    There are always devious ways to make things look good. Two years ago, a technical briefing from the government showed how cheap site C power would be after 2.6c/Kwh of escalation cost was transferred to the existing facilities. It appeared in very camouflaged language and the document is no longer available. Also 2 years ago a North Shore News article showed that we would be better of with wind power. Now we are stuck with having to export 8.6c/Kwh for 4c because without a global carbon tax that is what the market dictates. At 5100 Gwh/year that is an yearly loss of $234.6 million Just read that old newspaper. http://www.nsnews.com/opinion/letters/letter-wind-power-not-site-c-the-way-to-go-1.1940770

  3. Art Jackson AB-Reply
    June 9, 2017 at 9:21 am

    All Canadians have a voice in this needless project. Please demand an immediate stop to the Peace River Valley destruction. Every thing should be held up until the review is done which will shut it all down any way. Another needless waste of time and $$ wasted but at least stop the current destruction.
    Thank you for joining the NDP in having some common sense that represents the people and NOT the bloody corporations that rape and pillage the landscape to line their 1% pockets.
    Speak up for those with NO voice…the 4 legged, the finned and winged ones….DO WHAT IS RIGHT Andrew, thanks!!! Art Jackson.

  4. Bob Baker-Reply
    June 8, 2017 at 11:55 pm

    Site C is a monument to C hristy C lark . It is more like an Egyptian pyramid than a hydro electric project . The “queen” is throwing away the efforts and productivity of her minions for an extended period far beyond her years as a legacy of constant debt and overpriced electricity . Locked into enduring contracts with “polirical contribution” corporations who would privatize our public power.

  5. Erik Piikkila-Reply
    June 8, 2017 at 4:53 pm

    Dang if I had seen this sooner, I would have said could the Premier answer the Watershed and Water Sustainability Act Questions that were submitted to her and all other provincial party leaders and local riding candidates during the Election Campaign first.

    https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B1Z2Ha9X1sxzRUNtMzVZZzZXVXc/view?usp=sharing

    Andrew Weaver, MLA Oak Bay-Gordon Head Andrew Weaver very kindly responded as did the Green Party Candidate in Nanaimo – North Cowichan. Responses were pending from John Horgan and Doug Routley but the election call put those responses on hold. No responses from the Premier or the local Liberal candidate were ever received.

    Site C has local watersheds and impacts written all over it!!!

  6. Benjamin F Fairless-Reply
    June 8, 2017 at 9:44 am

    I really need to know the particulars of a $600.m cost should there be a delay due to prudence. I also need to know why this project is being forced to a point of no return before a transition in Government.

  7. Brian La Pointe-Reply
    June 7, 2017 at 10:25 pm

    The government has done a great number of analyses on this project. The benefits outweigh the costs. Doing one more analysis will not change the result. Just cost us more money. Lets get this valuable project completed.

  8. Brad Hartley-Reply
    June 7, 2017 at 9:43 pm

    I feel it’s a terrific response. A response I hope is broadcasted widely amongst all British Columbians.

    However, from the expertise, analysis and opinion/findings of both UBC and Dr. Swain have provided… it seems clear we should immediately halt construction of Site-C, as one would anticipate the Utilities Commission would only confirm what the critics have been suggesting?

    Can we not point the finger back that until a new cabinet is appointed, the acting Directors or possibly Bill Bennett halt the construction, given so many red flags continue to pop up?

    If it wasn’t for Dr. Swain and the UBC report (I’m under the impression the Liberals have not released any budget yet https://www.desmog.ca/2017/05/08/b-c-government-delays-release-site-c-budget-docs-until-after-election), I’d be totally in favour of full steam ahead as we wait to see what the Utilities Commission determines.

    So again, excellent response but I’m at a loss why we’re not immediately stopping it.
    Brad
    PS – I feel I’m the happiest person in the province to see the NDP and Greens committing to work together. This election has changed everything.

  9. Wendel Mayer-Reply
    June 7, 2017 at 8:35 pm

    Most of the commentary I have read in this thread are negative towards the construction/completion of the Site C dam. Many of the comments regret the “flooding of prime agricultural land”. Having driven through that area on numerous occassions, there is little “prime agricultural” farm land in the area. The reasoning that “the power is not needed” at this time is short sighted As the use of fossil fuels decline over time as it is and will continue to accelerate will increase the need for alternate sources of energy. Wind and Solar being unpredictatble will not cut it. Get Your heads out of the sand Mr. Horgan and Mr. Weaver and see the situation as it really is, and not as you wish it to be.

  10. Don Antoine-Reply
    June 7, 2017 at 5:41 pm

    If this goes ahead there’s more negative repercussions that will occur all the way down the Mackenzie Valley let alone all the hundreds of tributaries that flow into the river all the way to the Beaufort Sea..

  11. Chris Price-Reply
    June 7, 2017 at 4:04 pm

    Well Said!!

    I fully support your position as written.

  12. Debra Good-Reply
    June 7, 2017 at 2:55 pm

    We need to include the environmental impact of the project in the “triple bottom line”. I understand the valley that would be flooded could supply a massive amount of food locally if developed for organic agriculture, rather then putting the land under water. Long summer daylight hours can help BC reach more food self-sustainability.

    • Connie Kuramoto-Reply
      June 8, 2017 at 5:23 am

      I agree. Flooding farmland is a key issue as well as cost and economic viability.

  13. L.Dunn-Reply
    June 7, 2017 at 2:48 pm

    Thank you Mr. Weaver, and also to Mr. Horgan,
    I can see the writing on the wall, and it is crystal clear and here for everybody to see. An expense thrust upon the people of BC by the liberal party all for someone’s ego. Please continue your great work and exposure of the truth, this is one thing the liberals are not use to. Remove her fleece and show her for the wolf she really is.

  14. Stephanie Rockman-Reply
    June 7, 2017 at 2:24 pm

    Finally, a political leader interested in scientific findings and not corporate shareholders.

    Thank you Dr. Weaver

  15. Stephen Shaw-Reply
    June 7, 2017 at 2:14 pm

    I agree completely with Mr. Weaver. As a taxpayer I have not been given any objective evidence by the government to indicate the viability of the proposed dam. Evidence from other reliable sources says that Hydro customers will never consume the level of energy that the proposed dam will add to the current supply,therefore the excessive cost of the new dam will never be repaid on behalf of BC taxpayers. The steadily increasing amounts of renewable energy that are entering the grid will further aggravate this situation. An objective unbiased review and recommendation are absolutely vital. I sincerely hope that this will be the case.

  16. Marcie Cardiff-Reply
    June 7, 2017 at 2:10 pm

    When are you ever going to listen to the people of BC, this Site C dam is not in the interest of the people, the wildlife or the environment. We shouldn’t have to be saddled with a 9-11 Billion dollar debt because of your reckless behaviour. Your so reckless that you didn’t even get a independent study done to see if this us viable. Shame on you Christy Clark, you don’t deserve to be in charge of BC.

  17. Sheila Maxwell-Reply
    June 7, 2017 at 2:08 pm

    Thank you Andrew for requesting the information needed to make an informed decision. We in B.C. Need to consider costs to our children and grandchildren when proceeding with such huge expenses that will affect the lives of future generations! It is important to consider the cost in terms of dollars but equally important to consider future need of good farm land and costs to protect First Nations’ rights.

    B.C. should be investing in a variety of alternative energy sources that will not harm our food production ability by destroying prime farm land or encourage fracking for natural gas that would damage our fresh water sources. Please continue to speak for our children and grandchildren as well as our First Nations and farmers. We could be spending money producing other forms of renewable energy to keep many more people employed in B.C.

    Sincerely,
    Sheila Maxwell

  18. Edward Joyce-Reply
    June 7, 2017 at 1:54 pm

    The biggest question I have is where this 600 million dollar cost is coming from with regard to any delays? I would like Premier Clark to publicly itemize these costs on a spreadsheet and let us all see what her hurry is.
    Of late, I have concerns over her version of event and fact that is being made available to the media without the aforementioned point form/spreadsheet “penalty” costs.
    After it becomes publicly known where these costs are coming from, it is my hope that Premier Clark would make herself available with her information for the purposes of a q&a with the public. I’m not looking for a showdown with other parties on this matter until a public forum has had the opportunities to ask their questions.

  19. J. Webb-Reply
    June 7, 2017 at 1:06 pm

    Finally, finally someone has stepped up and posed real, legitimate questions in support of informed engagement and debate. Thank you Dr. Weaver.

  20. A Sheehan-Reply
    June 7, 2017 at 12:46 pm

    Thank you for answering Premier Clark’s query with such a well written and rational response.

  21. Beverley McKeen-Reply
    June 7, 2017 at 10:51 am

    I’m with Andrew Weaver and I’ve done enough reading to know that this project will hurt BC taxpayers/residents more than it could ever provide benefits. We need that land to grow food. We have enough electricity and ways to create it, without making such a mess of good agricultural land. If BC Hydro had stayed in one conglomerate as opposed to selling power off, then having to buy it back… seems to me the ‘crown’ corporation, which we are supposed to own, has been torn apart and not to the gains of the province. Stop Site C.

  22. Ruth McMonagle-Reply
    June 7, 2017 at 10:33 am

    I am very supportive of careful analysis of this project. I also support your decision to work with the NDP on this current round of political adjustments. May cool, intelligent and politically astute thinking occur concerning this project and many more.

  23. Karen Findlay-Reply
    June 7, 2017 at 10:15 am

    Excellent!

  24. Rick Schlosser-Reply
    June 7, 2017 at 10:03 am

    Before the election I wrote Andrew Weaver an email regarding comments he made on CBC radio about the Transmountain Pipeline expansion. He never responded, either in person or via a ‘staffer’.

    The Transmountain Pipeline expansion was approved by rigorous independent bodies and he still opposes this project.

    A very hypocritical stance on KM TMP.

    I am still waiting for a response Andrew.

    • Claire Hume-Reply
      June 7, 2017 at 4:44 pm

      Hi Rick, sorry we were not able to reply to your email. We have received many thousands of emails in the last month and only have a few staff to go through them all. We are trying our best to get back to everyone. In regards to your comment on KM, I would not agree that the approval process was rigorous or independent. Andrew was an intervenor in the NEB process and a few of his top concerns are summarized in this letter to the Prime Minister if you’re interested in reading through them. http://www.andrewweavermla.ca/2016/11/18/letter-prime-minister-trudeau-urging-reject-trans-mountain-kinder-morgan-expansion-project/

    • Ryan Langkamer-Reply
      June 8, 2017 at 1:49 pm

      Actually, the KMTM Pipeline has Not been reviewed with any rigorous, thorough set of guidelines, but rather by the deeply discredited NEB. The Federal Liberals promised a completely new review using proper environmental and economic guidelines and this was Not done. Also, BC Liberals gave up their rights to a separate enviro review and let the Federal Liberals do a slapdash, slipshod “review” of the NEB’s, obviously captured by industry, approval of this unnecessary, uneconomic project, putting our entire province at risk, especially our Southern Coast and Islands.

  25. Michael Isinger-Reply
    June 7, 2017 at 9:53 am

    Thank you for such a thoughtfully well written response to Christy Clark’s letter regarding the Site C project.

  26. Sue Katarynych-Reply
    June 7, 2017 at 9:28 am

    I hope you do not allow this valley to be flooded. Do what is best for the planet, not the profit. IMO when it comes to destroying land profit should be the last consideration. Destroying nature to build a garden is better than destroying nature for extra power to be sold. ( the market won’t be there by the time the dam is finished.)
    I can think of several things the roads and other structures already started could be used for and I am no professional. If I can think of alternatives so can they.

  27. Anthea Archer-Reply
    June 7, 2017 at 9:28 am

    The provincial Women’s Institute and my branch in Cobble Hill have sent letters over the years protesting the Site C dam. With the BC Farm Women’s Network I was able to visit the proposed Site C with the amazing vistas, excellent agricultural soils and unique micro climate. We need to preserve food producing land especially in the uncertain future of climate change. Site C serves no economic purpose for British Columbians and it is a travesty that so much destruction has already taken place. We support you, Dr Weaver and pray that honesty and sanity will prevail and Site C will be stopped as soon as possible – cheaper to stop now than incur debts for decades to come.

  28. Dave Parker-Reply
    June 7, 2017 at 9:01 am

    At this stage of the process of site c how can a contrived political alligance, not a party voted in but a joining of those who could not win the vote, cost us tax payers more in delays in a project that has already been approved . Rather than trying to create jobs and look after the economic growth and future of our province why not tie up the process create instability ,waste ,time, money ,resourses and Jobs . You may enjoy a short lived term together but you will not hold our province for long with the anti polotics so bent on what not to do rather than what needs to get done.

  29. Cody Haggard-Reply
    June 7, 2017 at 8:00 am

    Good work! finally someone whos asking for good data(or any data) to support an issue. refreshing.

  30. Ian Robinson-Reply
    June 7, 2017 at 7:42 am

    I am very happy greater care is happening with regards to how business is done in British Columbia.

  31. June 7, 2017 at 7:28 am

    Very well said! I agree with every word. Thank you.

  32. Karen Harper-Reply
    June 7, 2017 at 12:39 am

    Well expressed. I sincerely hope that the Liberals will do as both you and the NDP have requested and refer the matter for proper review.

  33. Sheila Rea-Reply
    June 7, 2017 at 12:23 am

    Excellent response Andrew & Team. The Libs are going kicking and screaming and trying to stir up as much trouble as they can. Christy and cohorts are going to delay Everything for as long as possible…. Making deals and signing backdated contracts would not surprise me from this crew….I bet those paper shredders are humming.

  34. Ken Smith-Reply
    June 6, 2017 at 10:38 pm

    I must say it’s about time someone with intelligence is looking after us. Thank you Dr. Weaver

  35. Mike Pelletier-Reply
    June 6, 2017 at 9:43 pm

    Clearly Mrs Clark is more of a egocentric, sociocentric thinker, rational thinking with evidence and support is asking a lot Sir. If she applied critical thinking skills to the Site C Dam project then this would not be an issue nor would her leadership be in question by us British Columbians.

    Best regards,

  36. Chris-Reply
    June 6, 2017 at 9:39 pm

    Thank you Mr. Weaver. All we have ever wanted was to hear the importance of this project from someone not related to the personal benefits of building the dam. I voted for and will continue to support a Green party who asks the tough questions and does not accept the weak answers.

  37. Don Harrison-Reply
    June 6, 2017 at 9:22 pm

    Excellent reply Mr Andrew Weaver. Do nothing to play the same style game Christy Clark and her gang of cohorts foister on the B.C.public.

  38. Bruce Gunn-Reply
    June 6, 2017 at 9:13 pm

    Prudent and disciplined response. We all await the response of the Premier. In the meantime I believe it is most important for Andrew and John to commission the development of an overall jobs plan tied to the new economy that will be needed in the event that the decision is ultimately made not to proceed with Site C.

  39. Bernhard Nimmervoll-Reply
    June 6, 2017 at 8:44 pm

    Great way of dealing with political spin – well done.

  40. Sue Towers-Reply
    June 6, 2017 at 8:38 pm

    I am so thankful the there is going to be a substantial opposition to the Site C dam. Everything about this project speaks of the kind of pressure being put on people without adequate information. I understand that it will be a hard fight as Ms. Clarke seems to have a do or die attitude about her pet project. When situations like this arise it really makes the average citizen feel hopeless, and able energy sector.
    ineffective. It will be so much to British Columbia’s benefit to have this huge waste of money, this falsehood on so many levels, stopped. We don’t need it. We need many more jobs in the renewable energy sector.
    Yours, Sue Towers

  41. Caitanna-Reply
    June 6, 2017 at 8:36 pm

    This is one of the reasons I voted for your party. You are articulate, thought provoking and not timid in your breakdown of the costliness and flagrant disregard for our tax dollars the Clark administration has squandered. Thank you for using research methods, common scenes and the people’s voices as your motivation.

  42. Karen Smith-Reply
    June 6, 2017 at 8:35 pm

    HUGE SIGH OF RELIEF!
    THANK you Greens and Dr. Weaver. May common sense and science prevail!

  43. Cora Pavlis-Reply
    June 6, 2017 at 8:11 pm

    Thank you for sticking to your guns. Please hang in there, know that we are behind you. This project has to stop.

  44. Dave Meadows-Reply
    June 6, 2017 at 7:48 pm

    Dr. Andrew Weaver,

    I believe you need to view this video with regards to BC Hydro and the squandering of public assets and the manipulation of markets for the bailout of companies associated with Premier Clark.

    Site C dam was a scam from the day it was conceived and it received massive opposition with complete disregard for residents, the public and protesting parties! .

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKDc5YMmAkc&feature=youtu.be

  45. Scott Maxwell-Reply
    June 6, 2017 at 6:01 pm

    Thanks for taking steps to re-evaluate this project, Dr. Weaver. I understand that work on this boondoggle continues even as these steps are being taken, however, so what would it take to actually stop construction? How close is the project to it’s magical “point-of-no-return”? It also seems like the BCUC’s scope doesn’t cover many important questions around the projects viability beyond it’s economic benefits; what kinds of non-economic costs are not being considered?

  46. Michael Maclean-Reply
    June 6, 2017 at 5:57 pm

    Thank you. Your response makes perfect sense.

  47. Bryan D Blakely-Reply
    June 6, 2017 at 5:53 pm

    As a 66 year old retired BC person ii greatly object to projects by politicians that have unsound economic value and will saddle my children and their children with significant increases in cost of living for the rest of their lives.
    As Mr. Weaver says,…..we are lacking proof of any alleged benefits as well as any costs.
    Something that is not spoken of is water. It is my contention that this is more about moving water to the US than about power. Alternate power is available at the same cost as hydro (geothermal) Water is not. The U.S. CORE OF ENGINEERS, in the 1950’s, drew up plans for moving water from northern BC to the US. Site C was part of that plan. The whole truth and nothing but the truth.

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