Site C Dam: One Step Closer to a Final Decision
The Site C dam is proposed to be constructed on British Columbia’s (B.C.) Peace River – a river that topped the list of B.C.'s most endangered rivers.
The dam would flood more than 60 miles (100 kilometers) of valley bottoms, destroy valuable agricultural land, force families from their homes, and threaten to fracture wildlife populations that are otherwise continuous along the Rocky Mountains.
The Peace River region is located at the narrowest point of the entire Yellowstone to Yukon wildlife corridor. Y2Y has opposed the Site C dam since it was announced in 2010, and hundreds of our supporters have also voiced their opposition.
In 2013, Y2Y commissioned a report that was presented to the Joint Review Panel, which examined the environmental impacts of the project.
The report found that the dam would negatively affect six mammal species that are already experiencing significant habitat impacts from industrial development as well as from the first massive dam on the Peace River, the W.A.C. Bennett dam.
This report, by Dr. Clayton Apps, also found that the cumulative effects of development in the Peace, including the proposed Site C dam, are so significant that some wildlife populations may not be viable or recoverable in the future.
And the Panel Says…
The Joint Review Panel concluded that Site C would have “significant adverse effects,” and noted that the Peace region is already undergoing “enormous stress” from resource development. In this context, the panel determined that Site C “would result in significant cumulative effects on fish, vegetation and ecological communities, wildlife, current use of lands and resources for traditional purposes, and heritage.”
The panel also concluded that BC Hydro has not fully demonstrated the need for Site C at this time, that the exact cost is unknown, and that there was insufficient exploration by BC Hydro of alternative renewable resources.
“We’re pleased to see that the Joint Review Panel has acknowledged that BC Hydro has not demonstrated the need for this project right now and that it supports what Peace Valley residents have been telling us for many years--Site C would have profound environmental consequences,” said Sarah Cox of the Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative.
Our Work Isn’t Over Yet
The panel’s report does not decide the fate of Site C, which would be the third dam on the Peace River. That decision is up to the federal and B.C. cabinets. It is expected they will announce a decision before mid September.
In the words of one of our Peace River Break partners, Andrea Morison from the Peace Valley Environment Association (PVEA), “Our work isn’t over yet.”
PVEA and Y2Y are asking people to write to the federal and B.C. governments to ask them to say no to Site C.