If that happens, then the final decision rests with the B.C. Government and Cabinet members who are expected to make their decision before the end of 2014.
The third dam on the Peace River currently has an estimated price tag of about 8 billion dollars, and has for decades been the subject of a sharply defined debate.
First Nations in the region have given the Provincial Government an ultimatum, build Site C or LNG and not both. It remains to be seen how that threat will affect the final investment decision.
Hydro insists it will be the source of clean, cost effective electricity, which will annually power the equivalent of 450,000 B.C. homes.
The ministers issued the certificate with 77 legally-binding conditions that BC Hydro must meet to be in compliance, including:
- Establish a fund of $20 million to compensate for lost agricultural lands and activities.The funds will be used to support enhancement projects that improve agricultural land, productivity or systems;
- Develop a Wetland Mitigation and Compensation Plan and monitor construction and operation activities that could cause changes in wetland function;
- Develop an Aboriginal Business Participation Strategy to maximize opportunities for Aboriginal businesses;
- Implement on-site health care with physician and nursing services to manage non-urgent issues for the workforce residing in camps;
- Develop protocols for application of construction methods, equipment, material and timing of activities to mitigate adverse effects to wildlife and wildlife habitat;
- Build 50 rental units in Fort St. John, of which 40 will be used for BC
- Hydro housing and 10 will be available for low-to-moderate income households. Upon completion of the construction phase, the 40 worker housing units will be made available to low-to-moderate income households;
- In collaboration with a Cultural and Heritage Resources Committee that includes Aboriginal groups, develop and implement mitigation measures to manage effects on cultural resources;
- Design the installation and use of a trap-and-haul facility as part of a fish passage management plan;
- Establish three new boat launch/day use sites and provide approximately $200,000 for a Community Recreation Site Fund; and
- Monitor greenhouse gas emissions from the reservoir for the first ten years of operations as part of a Greenhouse Gases Monitoring and Follow-up Program.