New year starts with more Site C labour disputes, controversy

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FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. — The New Year has opened with the Site C dam still the subject of protests, court cases, and a long festering labour dispute.

The latter took on some new life just prior to Christmas but the story was reportedly missed by some already focused on Yule Tide celebrations.

It started with the release of the final details of the $1.75-billion contract with Peace River Hydro Partners, the consortium which includes Fort St John headquartered Petro-west Corporation, for the main civil construction works on the controversial project.

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Recall it was unveiled as the winning bidder on Nov. 25 but the BC Building Trades Council is now at the forefront of opposition criticism that has questioned the provincial government’s commitment to guaranteeing jobs for B.C. residents.

That led to a year end verbal exchange between Council President Lee Loftus and Energy Minister Bill Bennett.

Still, the BC Federation of Labor is calling on the Premier to intervene and ensure that BC Hydro and its contractors not only follow a ‘B.C. first’ hiring policy, but also provide important apprenticeship opportunities.

Hydro’s Dave Conway has offered this response to that:

The project has been touted as creating as many as 1,500  jobs at peak construction.

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