Powerhouse and water intakes under construction at Site C dam project in northeast B.C., spring 2019. (B.C. Hydro)

B.C. Indigenous group vows to battle Site C dam in court again

B.C. Hydro project preparing to divert Peace River next summer

He has lost at every level of Canada’s court system, but the West Moberly First Nations chief is vowing to go to court again in an effort to stop completion of the Site C dam in northeastern B.C.

A lawyer for Chief Roland Willson issued a statement Tuesday saying discussions with the B.C. government to avoid the latest legal action against the dam have ended, and a trial is expected to begin in March 2022 to determine if West Moberly’s treaty rights have been infringed by construction of the third dam on the Peace River near Fort St. John.

Willson and his lawyer Tim Thielmann quoted Premier John Horgan’s statements while B.C. opposition leader in support of traditional hunting and fishing rights under Treaty 8, the 1899 treaty in which the region’s first nations ceded the territory to the Crown.

“We can’t disclose anything confidential from the discussions with B.C., but I can assure you that there are dark days ahead for Site C,” Willson said, predicting further construction delays.

B.C. Hydro postponed the diversion of the river for construction of the earth-fill dam until the summer of 2020, but said the delay wouldn’t mean missing the 2024 target for the dam to begin producing power. That delay and other unforeseen construction issues prompted the provincially owned utility to increase its cost estimate from $8.5 billion to $10.7 billion.

RELATED: 15th court action dismissed against Site C dam

RELATED: NDP proceeds with Site C dam, cost up to $10.7B

Horgan and Energy Minister Michelle Mungall inherited the project from former premier Christy Clark, who took an active role in pushing for its completion after her predecessor Gordon Campbell made the decision to proceed. The Horgan government reluctantly approved carrying on with Site C after forming a minority government in 2017.

The project has thousands of workers on site this summer, completing river diversion tunnels and building the powerhouse, intakes and other key components. As the third dam, Site C reuses stored water from the Peace Canyon and W.A.C. Bennett dams upstream, producing enough power for 450,000 homes with a much smaller reservoir size.

West Moberly and the Prophet River First Nation have carried on a long legal battle against Site C, which will flood more than 80 km of valley bottom land, widening and deepening the river. Their challenge of provincial permits was rejected by the B.C. Supreme Court in 2016, and later by the Federal Court of Appeal. The Supreme Court of Canada declined to hear the last appeals of that case in 2017.

In 2006, Campbell’s government and B.C. Hydro negotiated compensation of $14 million with ongoing support payments for the communities of Kwadacha and Tse Keh Dene, established at new sites on Williston Reservoir after original reserves were flooded by the original W.A.C. Bennett dam in 1967.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislature

Just Posted

Resident discovers five discarded hog heads in Vancouver Island ditch

WARNING: Graphic image may be upsetting to some readers

Suspicious fire evacuates Chemainus high school

No one hurt, but classes will also be cancelled Friday due to ongoing investigation and damage

Search for missing Cortes Island man approaches two-week mark

RCMP remind Cortes Islanders to check properties and outbuilding for signs of unusual activity

Exclusive: Pamela Anderson talks plans for waterfront Ladysmith property after 12-day marriage

Anderson says she can pay her own bills. Peters denies making comments suggesting she can’t

No-cost birth control not included in 2020 B.C. budget

AccessBC team calls it a ‘missed opportunity,’ says the group won’t stop campaigning

Blair says RCMP have met Wet’suwet’en conditions, calls for end to blockades

The Wet’suwet’en’s hereditary chiefs oppose the Coastal GasLink project

Health officials confirm sixth COVID-19 case in B.C.

Woman remains in isolation as Fraser Health officials investigate

Study says flu vaccine protected most people during unusual influenza season

Test-negative method was pioneered by the BC Centre for Disease Control in 2004

Malware infiltration slows production at Island pulp mills

Infestation affecting Crofton, Alberni, Powell River Paper Excellence operations

RCMP seek man who allegedly robbed Langford liquor store with a gun

Man described as six to six foot four tall, with slim build and light-coloured skin

Saskatchewan and B.C. reach championship round at Scotties

British Columbia’s Corryn Brown locked up the last berth in Pool B

Saanich residents petition against letting six unrelated people live together

‘Support for the ‘leave it at four’ is growing,’ says the resident

Scholarship launched to honour three men who died in Sooke River

Sooke School District award will be given annually to a student graduating from EMCS

Island-filmed mini-series honoured with Canadian Screen Award nomination

Actor Shawn Doyle was nominated in the Best Lead Actor category for Unspeakable

Most Read