A presentation by Area “C” Director Arthur Hadland to the Committee of the Whole at the Fort St. John City Council meeting, Monday, brought up several questions regarding the Site C project along the Peace River.
Hadland said he had several concerns in regards to environmental sustainability of the project, its cost, and the number of jobs that would actually be created.
Hadland said BC Hydro had stated that, once built, the dam will last up to between 70 or 100 years, however he says he disagrees with the assessment because of the type of clay soil that is in the area where the dam will be built. He said the soil type is prone to slumping which could affect the construction of structures over the soil.
According to Hadland, the dam project is expected to cost between $6.5 and $9.5 billion and that approximately 83 km of the river will be flooded.
Hadland proposed alternative options for energy generation to proposed hydro-electric dam, including wind power, geothermal energy, osmotic power, and coal. He said one of the benefits to coal would be the creation of more jobs in the community over the long run in comparison to the dam project.
Despite Hadland’s opposition to the project, Mayor Bruce Lantz said that, although he also personally opposes the project, “there’s absolutely nothing the city can do” in regards to determining whether the project could go forward as the decision is up to the province. He added that due to that fact, the City of Fort St. John has not taken any formal position on the project.
Hadland did, however, propose having a third party to examine the project.
“I think we need objectivity and I think we should be insisting that there be a totally independent agency look at, one, the geotechnical aspects of the dam… and number two, we’ve got to do a full cost-benefit analysis of the all the costs.”