Construction in the Peace River bed began last winter

Site C a lone bright spot for northern B.C.

Nearly 80 per cent of 1,447 people working on Peace River dam are B.C. residents, says Energy Minister Bill Bennett

With drill rigs at a standstill awaiting liquefied natural gas export projects, the start of the Site C dam is keeping the lights on for B.C. workers who would otherwise be joining other westerners in the unemployment line.

Energy and Mines Minister Bill Bennett announced Wednesday that there are 1,547 people now working at Site C, the third hydroelectric dam on the Peace River, and nearly 80 per cent are B.C. residents.

“So all of the dire predictions that this project was somehow going to have to be built by those from other provinces, temporary foreign workers, etc., have proven to be baseless predictions,” Bennett said.

It is slightly ahead of schedule and on budget, with more than $4 billion in contracts let to build the main civil works and the turbines and power facilities. Completion is expected in 2024, after the river is diverted near Fort St. John and the earth-filled dam and powerhouse are constructed in the riverbed.

Bennett insisted the Site C project is not accelerated for the political purposes of the B.C. Liberals, who are seeking a fifth term of majority government in May 2017.

A growing population and economy, plus a push to shift to electric cars and other fuel reduction strategies are all dependent on increased use of electricity, he said.

BC Hydro CEO Jessica McDonald said it has proven to be “an ideal time” to build Site C, with interest rates at historic lows and workers available nearby due to downturns in petroleum and mining industries.

Bennett said one of the remaining risks to the project budget and local employment is if the rest of the economy improves and competition for skilled workers increases.

B.C. Supreme Court and Federal Court decisions have upheld the province’s ability to proceed after aboriginal consultations.

The West Moberley and Prophet River First Nations have applied for review of the provincial permits awarded to BC Hydro, and an appeal of one of the earlier cases is also ongoing.

 

Just Posted

River Monsters attract nearly 300 swimmers to their two-day meet

This was the third year for the now-annual event

PHOTOS: Sasquatch Days about ‘being proud of being Sts’ailes’

The joint event between Harrison and Sts’ailes returned to the village for its eighth year

‘This was my baby’: Music teacher to retire after 29 years at Kent Elementary

Brenda Di Rezze will be saying goodbye to her music room at the end of this school year

New Farmer’s Market coming to downtown Hope

Markets will be hosted every Friday on 3rd Avenue

SD78 growth plan to focus on inclusive learning, reading

Data collection and collaboration will help schools meet goals, superintendent says

10 facts about Father’s Day

Did you know that the special day for dads was first celebrated in 1910?

B.C. VIEWS: When farmland protection doesn’t protect farmers

Secondary residences aren’t mansions, families tell Lana Popham

Bombers down B.C. Lions 33-23 in season opener

Former Lion Andrew Harris leads Winnipeg with 148 rushing yards

Northern B.C. family remembers murdered Indigenous woman with memorial walk

Still no closure for Ramona Wilson’s family 25 years later

Pride flag taken down by Township of Langley

Woman said she was told it was removed from her front yard because of a complaint

B.C. university to offer mentorship program for former youth in care

Students using the provincial tuition waiver program will soon be able to form a community at KPU

Cyclists competing in one of the toughest bike races on the planet pass through Fernie

Divide riders looking strong as they finish first leg of 4160 km race

You might not know these B.C. records are public

Hired a lawyer to file a civil claim? Those are published online

B.C. bus driver loses case to get job back after texting while driving full bus

An arbitator ruled that Tim Wesman’s phone usage was a “a reckless disregard for public safety”

Most Read