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

Film documents transformation of snowboarders, surfers

Former professional athletes forged deep ties with communities

Comox Valley Santa’s Workshop in need of bicycles for youngsters, gifts for teens

Santa’s Workshop, at 464 Puntledge Road (formerly the Red Cross building), is… Continue reading

Transitioning back into the world

Courtenay man had been living outdoors before starting Sally Ann program

A cuddle and a coffee: Six Island towns named among Canada’s most cozy

Sidney, Campbell River, Courtenay, Parksville, Tofino and Ucluelet crack Expedia’s top 40

REPLAY: B.C’s best video this week

In case you missed it, here’s a look at the replay-worth highlights from this week across the province

NEB approves operating pressure increase to repaired Enbridge pipeline

The pipeline burst outside of Prince George on Oct. 9, now operating at 85 per cent

Mid Island Farmers Institute discusses fleece at November meeting

Are you a lover of wool and local fibre? Interested in raising… Continue reading

Comox Valley Nature invites the public to learn about nature photography

Comox Valley Nature is hosting a public lecture on photography. Join Terry… Continue reading

B.C. VIEWS: Setting speed limits in a post-fact environment

Media prefer ‘speed kills’ narrative, even when it fails to appear

Controversy erupts over Japanese flag in B.C. classroom

Online petition demanding removal has collected more than 5,700 signatures

Death toll rises to 76 in California fire with winds ahead

Nearly 1,300 people remain unaccounted for more than a week after the fire began

Trump says report on Khashoggi death expected in a few days

Jamal Khashoggi was a columnist for The Washington Post who was slain Oct. 2 inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul

CUPW requests mediator as deadline for Canada Post offer expires without deal

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau weighed in Saturday night with a last-minute plea to the two sides

Most Read