The Narwhal as flagged the following as major problems:
- 50 per cent of the $5B increase to $16B in project costs are due to geotechnical issues relating to the unstable valley prone to large landslides and the COVID-19 pandemic.
- But the other 50 per cent of the cost increase was not revealed. Every single independent look has concluded that we don’t need the energy, even with the electrification of the province
Judith Sayers, Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council president and a board member of Clean Energy BC, said clean energy projects led by First Nations would create far more long-term jobs than the Site C dam. “When Site C is up and running it’s 25 measly jobs and right now, those 4,000-odd workers that they’re talking about, a lot of them come from out of province. They just have work for a few years and then they’re gone.”
Sayers pointed to the B.C. Indigenous Clean Energy Initiative, which she said has created 1,089 jobs over the past six years with approximately $3 million in annual federal and provincial funding. That work involves installing heat pumps, solar, geothermal and other climate-friendly projects in First Nations communities.
In the process, 418,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions have been prevented and almost $2 million has been saved in annual energy bills, Sayers said. “This is only one small fund.”
Many First Nations communities had plans for larger clean energy projects, including wind and run of river hydro projects, that would produce energy for the grid. But those long-term projects, in every area of the province, have been mothballed due to the Site C dam, Sayers said.
Another wildcard is the landmark Treaty Rights case brought by West Moberly First Nations, alleging that the Site C dam and two previous dams on the Peace River constitute an unjustifiable infringement of Treaty Rights. The trial begins in March 2022 and is expected to last about six months.