Environment Minister George Heyman, Premier John Horgan and Energy Minister Michelle Mungall announce decision to proceed with construction of the Site C dam, B.C. legislature library, Dec. 11, 2017. (Ragnar Haagen/Black Press)

News Views: Willing to pay

Premier John Horgan criticized the previous B.C. Liberals for mismanaging the project

The new B.C. NDP government will continue building the Site C dam, choosing to finish the contentious project started by the previous Liberal regime rather than halting mid-construction.

The B.C. NDP cabinet had struggled with the decision, with the project two years in and facing a cost of $4 billion to shut down construction of the third dam on the Peace River and put the site back the way it was.

After hearing from experts for weeks, the government faced an estimate that B.C. Hydro rates are already expected to rise 30 per cent over the next 10 years.

If the dam was halted, rates could have gone up another 12 per cent by 2020 to pay the cost of Site C.

Government officials expect the additional rate increase to be 6.5 per cent when it goes into service in 2024.

B.C. Hydro would likely apply to the B.C. Utilities Commission to “smooth” that rate increase, raising it in smaller steps to pay for the dam.

Premier John Horgan criticized the previous B.C. Liberals for mismanaging the project and leaving his NDP government with little choice.

Canceling the dam now would add billions to the province’s debt, he said, putting at risk the ability to deliver housing, child care, schools and hospitals.

It’s not a price the government was willing to pay.

Nor should it.

B.C. Liberal finance critic Tracy Redies, a former B.C. Hydro board member, said the NDP’s review confirmed that with projected growth in electricity demand, B.C. will need the equivalent of nine Site C dams by 2050.

Termination would have meant a $4 billion write-off and a large increase in Hydro rates, with nothing to show for it but growing demand.

– Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows News

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

Just Posted

Early a.m. train through Maple Ridge cancelled, until further notice

West Coast Express service will run four instead of five trains into Vancouver

Van fire in Maple Ridge business park

Vehicle engulfed in flames

Council hears update on Maple Ridge snow

Focus is to clear priority routes

Rally organizer seeking B.C. Liberal nod in Maple Ridge-Mission

Jamie Seip wants to run next provincial election

VIDEO: Soldiers trade rifles for snow shovels to help dig out St. John’s

A state of emergency is set to extend into a fifth day

Warm ‘blob’ could be behind mass starvation of North Pacific seabirds: study

Unprecedented death toll raises red flag for North American marine ecosystems

Convicted Fraser Valley con man facing 39 charges in Vancouver area

Donald Quinnell got four years prison in 2015, again facing fraud, theft, stolen credit card charges

Police seize nearly 50 kilos of drugs in Surrey

Police say this has taken perhaps millions of deadly doses of fentanyl and other drugs off the streets

Young child seriously injured in suspected drunk driving crash in Delta

“This needs to stop,” says Insp. Ciaran Feenan, head of the Delta Police Department’s patrol section

Elderly man in serious condition after being hit by bus in Burnaby

RCMP believe man, 82, was not at a crosswalk at the time

ICBC to bring in ranking system for collision, glass repair shops

Change comes after the much-maligned auto insurer has faced criticism for sky-high premiums

Most Read