UPDATE: Parties square off over Site C delays

Rushed report unable to determine if dam on $8.8 billion budget

The NDP government’s deadline to deliver a preliminary report on B.C. Hydro’s Site C dam project didn’t allow time to determine if the most expensive construction job in B.C. history is on budget.

Energy Minister Michelle Mungall faced questions in the legislature Thursday about the government-ordered review with a Sept. 20 deadline for a preliminary report, an extra set of public hearings and a final report by Nov. 1. That report will form the basis for the government’s decision on whether to temporarily stop work on the project, proceed with construction or halt the project and remediate the site on the Peace River near Fort St. John.

Peace River South MLA Mike Bernier called on Mungall to assure the 2,600 workers on the project that their jobs are safe as winter approaches. Mungall fired back that the expert review by the B.C. Utilities Commission is a step the B.C. Liberals refused to take, and that is why it is being taken now.

The BCUC released the report ordered by Premier John Horgan’s cabinet late Wednesday evening, hours before a midnight deadline. It leaves more questions than answers as the BCUC proceeds to a new round of province-wide public meetings it was also ordered to hold.

The BCUC review panel concluded it didn’t have enough information to answer questions put to it by the government, on an $8.8 billion construction project that has been underway for two years.

“The panel is concerned that the amount spent on the project as of June 30, 2017, $1.8 billion, might not accurately represent the spending that should have happened on the project activities to date,” the report states.


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