BC Hydro Hosts Site C Open House
Representatives from BC Hydro were in Fort St John to discuss the prosposed Site C Dam with members of the public as part of their public definition consultations. Several members of the public came out to learn more about the proposed Site C Dam that BC Hydro wants to build outside of Fort St. John. Dave Conway is the manager of community relations for BC Hyrdo and says that they are here primarily to discuss four points.
"The information that we're gathering tonight is on four topics; worker accomindation, transportation, clearing, and agriculture. We're seeking people's feedback and input about the project and on those topics, but we're also open to other comments, issues, or concerns that they might want to let us know about."
A large group of the attendees had other things they wanted to let BC Hydro know about. They were protesting Site C with chants and picket signs saying they don't want the dam in the Peace. One of these protestors is Ken Boon. He says that if the dam is built he will lose most of his land.
"Well we live at Bear Flat, right on the Peace River, so if Site C were to go ahead we would loose most of our land and our house to the resevoir. We're living in my wife's gandpa's house, and on his old farm. And we also run a campground across the creek that my wife's dad started back in the early nineties so most of that would be impacted as well."
While not all of the campsite would be flooded Boon says the project would shut them down.
"The proposed road goes right through the middle of all the buildings and campsites, so it pretty much would be toast."
BC Hydro already owns portions of the land that would be flooded by the dam. If the project goes through they plan on buying out the rest of the affected land. Conway says that the loss of this land would not just be detrimental to the north, but the rest of BC.
"Well yeah it's frustrating. The loss to us would be enormous of course. You know, I mean I think the loss to the people of the north and the people of BC would be greater. I mean it's.... you know we can't just lose the valley. That agriculture capability, and the beauty of that valley, and the history, and all the old family farms that are still operating in that valley. You know it'd just be too much of a loss, and it's unnecessary."
Despite the large number of people at the open house who vocally oppose the dam Conway says there are people in the Peace giving quite support for the project.
"It really varies depending on who you're talking to. People's interests and their values will vary. So we certainly have heard from people who don't want the project, who are concerned about varying aspects of the project. We're alos hearing though from people who would like to see the project. Who want to see the work, they want to know about the types of jobs there, they want to know about what eventual recreation would be there. So it really varies depending on who you're talking to and what their interests and values are."
The city, BC Hydro, and grass roots organizations are all gathering public opinion on the project. The environmental impact assesment will be finished in two years, so there is plenty of time to join the discussion.