Hiking in the Yukon. Image: Pat Morrow
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"I left inspired to protect the special places in my own backyard."
Sara Renner, Y2Y supporter

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Site C Fight Goes On

After being approved by the provincial government in late 2014, the Site C dam is far from a certain bet due to cost hikes and ongoing court cases.

The British Columbia (B.C.) government approved the Site C Dam late last year amid a flurry of press coverage and an admission that the dam would cost even more than originally estimated--the price tag is now $8.8-billion.

Y2Y was quick to react to the announcement, and reiterated the key points behind our initial opposition to the project. “This is a foolish decision that will have financial repercussions for British Columbians for many decades to come," said Y2Y's interim president Wendy Francis. "The B.C. government has chosen to proceed full-steam ahead with a project that will have serious and irreversible environmental impacts.”

Francis recalled some of the key findings from a 2013 report by biologist Dr. Clayton Apps, commissioned by Y2Y, which concluded the cumulative impacts of industrial development in the Peace region, including Site C, would threaten many wildlife populations, including grizzly bear, caribou and wolverine.

It would also destroy valuable farmland, as well as areas that feature highly significant archaeological artifacts—forever flooding one of Canada’s top regions for dinosaur tracks.

If it goes ahead, Site C would flood extensive farmland and prime wildlife habitat in a region already reeling from intense industrial developed region. Photo: A. Weaver.

Still Possible to Stop Site C  

With eight court challenges in the works, and individual B.C. communities officially opposed, there are still many obstacles that could prevent this controversial dam from ever being built.

The legal challenges began almost immediately after B.C.’s approval, and were launched by the Peace Valley Landowner Association (PVLA), as well as several Treaty 8 First Nations in B.C. and Alberta.

Those six court cases were followed in March 2015 by two more legal challenges that could affect the dam’s construction. The groups behind the initial six lawsuits were recently successful in getting a federal court to reject the BC Hydro motion to fast-track the cases, which would have allowed the utility to start Site C construction in June 2015, but would have left little time for legal teams to develop their case against the dam. The first case, involving the PVLA, is set to begin on April 20.

Stopping the Site C Dam remains a high priority for Y2Y, since it would be another environmentally destructive project in a region that is already dealing with extensive industrial development.

Situated in the Peace River Break, the narrowest point along the Rocky Mountains in the entire Y2Y region, projects like Site C threaten wildlife connections between protected areas to the north, like B.C.’s Muskwa-Kechika, and others to the south, such as Jasper National Park.