The Obscured Story of the Site C Dam – Part 2

By: Liz Galenzoski

January 14, 2018
Series 2 of 3

May 9, 2017, Election day produced some surprises. The results between the Liberals and the NDP were close – only two two seats separating the two main parties. The final count was Liberals 43, NDP 41, and the Green Party 3. Christy Clark had been denied a majority; John Horgan had not won the election. One can only imagine the delight of Andrew Weaver holding the balance of power with THREE seats!

The voters who were opposed to the Site C going ahead were on the edge of their seats as they awaited the long drawn-out back-and-forth between the two main parties.

On June 8th, all members were sworn in as MLAs, and the voters waited again. Finally, on June 22, the Liberals delivered the Speech from the Throne. After all, they had won the most seats, and but for the three Greens, the Liberals would have form government again. Because of three seats in an eighty-seven seat legislature, the only real winner was the Green Party with more power than either of the two mainline parties. On June 29, the Liberals lost a non-confidence vote in the house, and on June 30, fifty-two days after the election, Lieutenant-Governor Judith Guichon, invited John Horgan to form government.

John Horgan went to work.

August 2, Michelle Mungall announced the NDP was keeping its promise to send the Site C project to the BCUC (BC Utilities Commission) for review. The review would begin on August 9, and the object of the review was, “… to ensure we can keep hydro rates affordable … ” And Mungall is quoted as saying, “We’re sending this project to the BCUC to ensure we make the right decision for B.C. families.”

Was that Christy Clark speaking???

What did the government expect to achieve from the review?

The timeline given to the BCUC was for a preliminary report by September 20, 2017 and a final report was due by November 1, 2017.

The Terms of Reference were restrictive with only three questions.

There were numerous complaints that the timeline given to the BCUC was inadequate in which to gather the information they needed for research and investigations. None of the questions included a risk assessment of the possible failure of the dam and the cost of that risk.

Laila Yuile, the blogger I mentioned earlier, continued to write on Site C. And in her blog of November 13, 2017, I found a word or a phrase that reminded me of the news story I had heard many years earlier. It gave me a clue as to what to search, and sure enough, I found the story of a bridge that had failed long before its time, and within moments I understood the connection between it and the location of the Site C dam with all its cracks and trouble on the north slope. I may never know for certain whether the two stories are related, but I now had information which all British Columbians desperately needed to have.

As an aside to this story, I found another bit of information on the government website which is not unrelated to the problems on the Site C project.

On August 12, 2017, the Victoria Times Colonist published a story about the NDP calling for a review of having industry experts assess project risks.

The NDP government has ordered a review of B.C.’s controversial “professional reliance” system, which uses experts hired by industry to assess the environmental risks associated with logging, mining and other projects.” There was no mention of Site C.

The connection will be obvious in the third series.

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