BC NDP government approves Site C

BC NDP government approves Site C

Horgan met with both his NDP caucus and cabinet last week to deliberate the fate of Site C, now two years into construction and which the BC Utilities Commission says is already over budget and unlikely to be complete by 2024.

The capital project is the biggest B.C. hydro has ever taken on, and a new project team will be put in place to provide enhanced oversight to make sure it is built "on time and on budget".

An estimated $4 billion has been spent so far on the dam and the NDP government was debating whether to continue construction or cancel the work midway through the job.

However, Litwin said that "from the business community's perspective, this is a huge win", in terms of being an infrastructure investment that will, despite short-term pain, deliver long-term gains in less costly electricity.

Premier John Horgan has scheduled an 11:30 a.m. press conference at which he will announce whether the province will carry on with or scrap the $10-billion project.

"With the BCUC's report in hand, we're confident that the court will grant our injunction", Wilson said.

"Our priority as a government was to ensure that when we make a decision on this, it was consistent with our values".

He blamed the situation on the previous government, which approved Site C without having it reviewed by the B.C. Utilities Commission. "But we cannot punish British Columbians for those mistakes, and we can't change the past".

"We know this decision is not what some First Nations wanted".

Horgan also announced that BC Hydro's standing offer program would be reopened to buy electricity produced independently, that a new food security fund is being launched to make farming more viable in the province and that there would be increased training opportunities working on Site C.

"Family members of mine, friends of mine will be very, very disappointed with this". "We've done that and we've come to conclusion that proceeding is the best way forward".

The Greens and their ilk are in the latter category, of course, but leader Andrew Weaver has already said his party won't abandon the NDP over it. He says British Columbians would have gained nothing if they didn't complete the northeastern B.C. project, because if they had made a decision to cancel it, the government would have taken on the project's $3.9 billion in debt.

"Today's announcement reflects a sad reality for B.C., and British Columbians deserve better", he said.

Gray, who is an NDP member in Esquimalt-Metchosin, told On the Island host Gregor Craigie they chose to take a partisan approach to increase pressure on the government.

Weaver takes issue with the NDP saying they are minimizing risk. Cancelling it would have boosted Hydro rates and cost billions for no return.

"We began to receive copies of letters and realized hundreds, if not thousands of NDP supporters were angry and anxious about the Site C dam".

Environmentalists and landowners, however, argued the evidence they brought to a rushed British Columbia Utilities Commission review was ignored and looked on Monday's announcement as a betrayal.

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