Environment Minister George Heyman, Premier John Horgan and Energy Minister Michelle Mungall announce that B.C. Hydro is proceeding with construction of the Site C dam, Dec. 11, 2017. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)

Environment Minister George Heyman, Premier John Horgan and Energy Minister Michelle Mungall announce that B.C. Hydro is proceeding with construction of the Site C dam, Dec. 11, 2017. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)

B.C. VOTES 2020

Site C actions, costs won’t be known until after B.C. election, Horgan says

Peace River diverted for construction of reinforced dam base

The Peace River’s flow is now diverted through twin tunnels for the main riverbed works of B.C. Hydro’s Site C dam, opening a dry area of the riverbed for construction of “foundation enhancements” that were identified by geological mapping as a change to the project in late 2019.

The river diversion proceeded on schedule starting Oct. 2, but the additional work and COVID-19 delays mean the completion date and additional costs remain uncertain, NDP leader John Horgan acknowledged in his final campaign event in Vancouver Thursday.

This week B.C. Hydro announced three positive tests for COVID-19 on the site near Fort St. John, and the start of burning wood debris captured from the river to keep diversion tunnels clear.

Newly sworn in as premier in 2017, Horgan called for the B.C. Utilities Commission to make a rapid review of the project, which by then had $4 billion invested in the long-considered third dam on the Peace River. That review was “inconclusive,” Horgan said, and the NDP government decided to proceed at a projected cost increased by $1 billion to $10.7 billion.

RELATED: Site C dam set back by COVID-19, foundation changes

RELATED: NDP government bails out B.C. Hydro for $1.1B debt

RELATED: After losing at every level, West Moberly sues again

B.C. Hydro’s annual report in July 2020 notified the government and public of the latest problems, including delays due to COVID-19 restrictions on the huge job site as well as the new geological issues. Before calling the election, then-energy minister Bruce Ralston appointed former deputy finance and transportation minister Peter Milburn to assess the project again.

“But now we are three and a half years later, and new evidence that was not presented at that time is being examined by Mr. Milburn,” Horgan said Oct. 22. “This is absolutely serious for Hydro ratepayers and for the project. I don’t want to diminish it in any way. But I don’t know until I hear from the experts what’s the magnitude of the problem, and what steps we need to take to protect British Columbians.”

In a July progress report to the B.C. Utilities Commission, B.C. Hydro CEO Chris O’Riley said the combined effects of COVID-19 and a series of construction issues have pushed the cost up by an amount not yet known. Those included changes to the main civil works contract, increased costs of reservoir clearing, power line construction and highway realignment, as well as the latest of a series of legal challenges from the West Moberly First Nations.

“Towards the end of December 2019, investigations and analysis of geological mapping and monitoring activities completed during construction identified that some foundation enhancements would be required to increase the stability below the powerhouse, spillway and future dam core areas,” O’Riley wrote in a letter to BCUC chair David Morton.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC politicsBC Votes 2020Site C

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Volunteers gather at Third Avenue and Mar Street on Friday, Nov. 20, 2020 to walk the streets of Uptown Port Alberni searching for people sleeping in alleys to hand out food and Naloxone kits. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)
Port Alberni tent city evicted again

Campers took over gazebo at Roger Creek Park

Richard Hawksworth, 88, has been living in the Alberni Valley since 1946. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)
VALLEY SENIORS: Port Alberni senior raises funds for the less fortunate

Richard Hawksworth contributes to the well-being of others

The Eta Chi Sorority chapter in Port Alberni recently donated $1,840 in funds to Ty Watson House, the Salvation Army and Bread of Life, Alberni Community and Women’s Services Society and the SPCA. Lynne Galesloot, left, gives a cheque to Chris Mellin, House Manager of Ty Watson House. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)
Alberni sorority raises funds for community organizations

Eta Chi chapter applauded for donations

When Peter Mieras isn’t taking scuba divers out on excursions in Alberni Inlet with his Rendezvous Dive Adventures, he often finds himself in the water anyway—filming with his other enterprise, Subvision Productions. Mieras captured salmon on their final journey back to their river of origin during a calm moment at the end of October. (PHOTO COURTESY PETER MIERAS/ SUBVISION PRODUCTIONS)
Vancouver Island film maker has a sockeye’s view of salmon spawning ground

Peter Mieras gets up close and personal with iconic west coast fish

North Island College student research assistant Avalon Kline-Smith holds up a piece of dried Alaria marginata, also known as Pacific wakame or winged kelp. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)
North Island College researching seaweed processing possibilities

New research partnership is between NIC and Cascadia Seaweed Corp.

People wearing face masks to help curb the spread of COVID-19 cross a street in downtown Vancouver, on Sunday, November 22, 2020. The use of masks is mandatory in indoor public and retail spaces in the province. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. reports 17 COVID deaths, 1,933 new cases as hospitalizations surge over the weekend

There are 277 people in hospital, of whom 59 are in ICU or critical care

An aerial shot of Cedar Valley Lodge this past August, LNG Canada’s newest accommodation for workers at the project site in Kitimat. This is where several employees are isolating after a COVID-19 outbreak was declared last Thursday (Nov. 19). (Photo courtesy of LNG Canada)
Forty-one positive COVID-19 cases associated with the LNG Canada site outbreak in Kitimat

Thirty-four of the 41 cases remain active, according to Northern Health

Firefighters try to put out a structure fire on the Island Highway in Nanoose Bay early Saturday morning. (Nanoose Bay Volunteer Fire Department photo)
Horses in nearby stable saved as building burns down in Nanoose Bay

Firefighters called out in the early-morning hours Saturday

Brenda Schroeder thought she was reading it wrong when she won $100,000 from a Season’s Greetings Scratch & Win. (Courtesy BCLC)
New home on the agenda after scratch ticket win in Saanich

Victoria woman set to share her $100,000 Season’s Greetings lottery win

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Workers arrive at the Lynn Valley Care Centre seniors home, in North Vancouver, B.C., on Saturday, March 14, 2020. It was the site of Canada’s first COVID-19 outbreak in a long-term care facility. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Rapid tests ‘not a panacea’ for care homes, Dr. Bonnie Henry says

B.C. lacks capacity for daily tests of thousands of workers

(Delta Police Department photo)
Cannabis edibles found in Halloween bag lead B.C. police to illegal lab

Delta police arrested a man and a woman while executing a warrant at a residential property Nov. 20

A woman being arrested at a Kelowna Value Village after refusing to wear a mask on Nov. 22.(@Jules50278750/Twitter)
VIDEO: Woman arrested for refusing to wear mask at Kelowna Value Village

RCMP claims the woman was uncooperative with officers, striking them a number of times and screaming

Most Read