FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. — BC Hydro says that it has made some changes to its plans for the realignment of Highway 29 west of Fort St. John.
In response to an inquiry about BC Hydro’s reaction to a letter from Treaty 8 chiefs Roland Willson and Lynette Tsakoza to Premier Christy Clark, spokesperson Crystal Sharwood said that the design of the realignment in the Cache Creek area has been refined. Sharwood said that though there has been extensive archeological work, BC Hydro has not confirmed that there are any Aboriginal burial sites in the area of the project. However, she explained that the West Moberly and Prophet River First Nations notified BC Hydro about the location of a potential burial site in March, and that Hydro is meeting with members of the two First Nations this week.
Sharwood added that in the area of the potential site, the design of the highway has been refined to mitigate impacts of the new road. “This includes lengthening the bridge by 50 metres to avoid ground disturbance of the potential burial site, and raising the height of the bridge to provide approximately two metres clearance above the specific site and therefore avoid disturbing the site,” stated Sharwood in an email.
Chief Roland Willson spoke with Energeticcity.ca last week, when he stated that he was concerned that the reason for Hydro’s choice of realignment over alternatives has not been released. When asked about Willson’s concerns, Sharwood stated that, “The realignment of Highway 29 at Cache Creek – including the preferred route – was reviewed as part of the federal-provincial environmental assessment process for Site C in the context of other routes that had been identified.”
She also added that a list of documents outlining BC Hydro’s process for choosing the alignment is on the Site C project’s website. That link can be found here: https://www.sitecproject.com/sites/default/files/Info-Sheet-Highway-29-History-of-Cache-Creek-Realignment-Final_3.pdf.