Site C: Speak Now or Forever Lose Your "Peace"
Arlene Boon lives on a homestead in the Peace River Valley, located in north-eastern British Columbia, which has been in her family for three generations. She knows all too well the importance of voicing your opinion when opposing a project like BC Hydro’s Site C Dam.
The Site C battle isn’t something new for Arlene or her family. Her grandfather faced the same threat when BC Hydro proposed the same project in the 1970’s. The dam and its reservoir would have put all their land under water.
“Ironically,” recalls Arlene, “Granddad didn’t even have electricity at the time. I can remember him saying, ‘I won’t leave this place until the water hits my knees.’” Fortunately, the battle was won, the project shelved, and her grandfather didn’t feel a drop of water.
Today Arlene walks in her grandfather’s footsteps in opposing the resurrected Site C project. She urges all those potentially affected to get involved. From other pioneer families to city dwellers, this project will have far reaching impacts, not to mention its effects on the environment and wildlife movement.
Translating Technical Mumbo Jumbo
The time to voice your opinion is upon us. BC Hydro recently completed a draft of the guidelines it proposes to use to shape the dam’s environmental assessment.
From April 17th until June 1st, 2012, the public has the opportunity to voice their concerns and ensure the guidelines capture all the issues, topics and requests for alternatives necessary for an effective environmental review.
Y2Y and a number of our partners are making it easier for citizens to participate. This May, we will provide suggestions about the major issues outlined in the draft and clarify the technical language. We will also provide information on how to submit your comments to the appropriate agencies.
All those on our Action Alert list will be sent the information directly to their email; if you wish to participate sign-up now. Additionally, the details will be posted to our web site.
Y2Y’s Contribution to the Environmental Assessment
The Peace River Break is vital to Y2Y’s vision. It is the narrowest section within the Yellowstone to Yukon region and a critical connection zone for animals traveling not only north-south but also east-west.
This connection already has been narrowed by two reservoirs created by dams built in the 1960s.
If this wildlife corridor is further squeezed by Site C, southern large mammal populations could be permanently cut off from populations farther north. This eventually could weaken the gene pools for those species and affect their ability to survive.
Y2Y has commissioned a study to examine the cumulative impacts on the mobility of large mammals of all development in the Peace River Break, including all three dams and their reservoirs. The results of this study will be part of Y2Y’s submission to the Site C project’s environmental assessment.