By Roy L Hales
What the province will lose by flooding the Peace Valley. How much the land means to its’ inhabitants. Why people are fighting the proposed Site C Dam. These images of the Peace River Valley explain why.
Meet Some Of The People
The first video, “Peace for a Valley,” was filmed a year ago.
“It gives people a sense of what the valley looks like, what the issues are and you get to meet some of the people,” said Andrea Morison, of the Peace Valley Environment Association.
If the Site C Dam is built, it will flood 83 kilometres of the Peace Valley.
The federal-provincial panel that reviewed this project found that the power is not needed. They recommended that the BC Utilities Commission be allowed to make an assessment. (Something that Premier Christy Clark’s government may be avoiding because the commission turned Site C down decades ago.). Harry Swain, the Chair of the federal-provincial panel, is now an outspoken opponent of this project.
Chief Roland Willson, whose people have been here for 10,000 years, said, “There is no other place I would want to live … We are not opposed to development. What we are opposed to is the unnecessary impacts of flooding this valley.”
Four generations of Caroline Beam’s family have lived here.
“It’s so much bigger than my personal attachment to a portion of this province. It is a loss to the entire province because this is a very important area. How do we just flood it? We do not want to lose this precious resource,” she said.
Most of Ken and Arlene Boon’s farm will be submerged and the highway will go through what is now their yard.
“If this project were to go ahead, we would be flooding some of the best farmland in the Northeast area,” says Arlene.
Ken Boon says, “You can grow grain anywhere in this country,” but in the valley you can also grow fruit and produce that is not seen in other parts of the region.
Watch the video to see what they are talking about.
Construction Began In August
Construction began in August. These are some of the pictures Don Hoffman took, when he flew over the devastation that has already come to the valley.
“The construction, and destruction of the valley, will take place over the course of many years. They want to clear to about the Boon farm by mid 2017. Then, according to the schedule they circulated, there won’t be any more clearing of the valley for 3-4 years. So we have some time before complete and absolute destruction,” said Morison.
In the meantime, British Columbia will have an election in 2017.
“We are still hopeful. From what I’ve heard, the NDP are getting well organized for the next election (2017). They have said they want a moratorium on Site C and have the BC Utilities Commission assess it.”
The video below was used for the website “The Real Site C Hearings” website. Eoghan Moriarty used a drone to shoot the images of land that will be underwater if the dam is built.
He also built the website, where people can thank the MLAs who voted for the Peace River Valley, on September 30, 2015.
“We think it is important for those 29 MLAs, who represent the Green Party, independents and NDP, to know that British Columbians are in support of stopping the dam and we are supporting them,” said Morison .
What The Valley Looks Like
She added, “We have a new Federal Government and that means a new Prime Minister, a new Minister of Environment and a new Minister of Aboriginal Affairs. Justin Trudeau has said he wants to make the Canadian Environmental Assessment robust once again. We want the Government to know that Site C is a big issue and it needs to be stopped as soon as possible.”
Top Photo Credit: Screen shot taken from Eoghan Moriarty’s film, “This Is What The Peace River Valley Looks Like Before Site C Dam” (above)