British Columbia moves forward with construction on Site C dam despite increased cost

Site C Clean Energy Project
Rendering for Site C Clean Energy Project (Site C Clean Energy Project)

Instead of taking a $4 billion hit for cancelling the project and jeopardizing funds for development of schools, hospitals and bridges, the provincial government of British Columbia has decided to continue the construction of the Site C Clean Energy Project, says Premier John Horgan.

The province estimated that the $4 billion cancellation cost would make each B.C. resident pay $860 for nothing in return. Horgan said that he could not ask the people of the province to shoulder such debt.

He also said that the amount would be enough to fund 66 secondary schools or 11 hospital projects, and 12 highway improvements or three bridges in Metro Vancouver.

With the decision, the province also avoided a credit downgrade and debt-servicing costs of up to $150 million annually. Terminating the project would have also meant a 12 per cent rate hike that would last for 10 years.

“We have listened,” said Horgan. “We have deliberated and we have debated and at the end of the day we have come to the conclusion that although Site C is not the project we would have favoured, and it’s not the project we would have started, it must be completed to meet the objectives of our government.”

The B.C. government also made the decision despite the rising cost of construction for Site C. Previously, the project on the Peace River had a price tag of $8.3 billion. Now, its cost has jumped to $10.7 billion.

After being in the pipeline since 1958, the Site C dam was finally given the green light in December 2014. It is also considered as the province’s most expensive mega project.


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