FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. — A BC Hydro spokesperson says a work stoppage on clearing a path for a transmission line to connect the Site C to the rest of the provincial grid won’t impact the project’s overall schedule.
BC Hydro’s Site C Community Relations Manager Dave Conway said that clearing and road access work on the dam’s transmission line corridor was stopped in at the request of the West Moberly First Nations on February 16th. The section of the corridor covers 29 of the 75-kilometre length of the future power lines, and includes Trapper Lake, Sucker Lake and Peace Moberly Tract.
Conway said the area was identified by the West Moberly First Nations as a “critical area” in its late January application for an injunction to stop work on Site C pending the outcome of a Treaty infringement lawsuit, which was also filed that month. Last Friday, the B.C. Supreme Court decided an injunction hearing will take place sometime between July 24th and September 10th, and is expected to take 10 days. Conway said that BC Hydro has suspended that work until either October 1st, or a court decision on the injunction is made.
When asked about the potential impact on the project, Conway stated that the work stoppage would not impact the overall Site C project schedule, and that Hydro is currently assessing the potential cost implications. However, he added that any increase in costs related to the work stoppage would be covered by the project’s contingency funds.
“We are proceeding with clearing and access road development along the transmission corridor outside of this area and waste wood disposal and hauling of already felled merchantable timber will continue along the entire transmission corridor,” said Conway in a statement. “We are assessing what additional work is planned for summer/fall in the other ‘critical areas’ identified in the injunction.”
Conway added that this is not the first time BC Hydro has suspended work while waiting for a legal ruling. Work was suspended in the Moberly River area while awaiting a ruling after the West Moberly and Prophet River First Nations launched a judicial review of construction permits in August 2015, a case that Hydro ultimately won.