British Columbia grows less than half of the fresh produce it needs. Much of what we consume comes from California. The ongoing drought conditions, and a weak loony, have sent vegetable prices spiralling 11.7% this year. Fresh, nutritious fruits and vegetables are becoming an occasional luxury for some middle-low income B.C. families. Though this will only worsen worse as global temperatures continue to rise, the government of BC is far more preoccupied with the get-rich promise of mega-energy projects. Once it is completed, Site C will submerge prime agricultural lands.
While the eyes of the world are focused on COP 21 in Paris, a dozen Peace River valley residents decided to send the Canadian Government a message. Esther Pedersen, who agreed to become the organizer, said she was contacted on Monday night. Two days later they gathered at the Old Fort Road entrance to Site C so they could protest the environmental devastation of the Peace valley.
There has been marked opposition to the proposed Site C dam since the B.C. Public Utilities Commission turned this Peace River project down more than thirty years ago. Dr. Harry Swain, former Chair of the Site C Joint Review Panel, and Richard Bullock, former Chair of the Agricultural Land Commission (ALC), have become some of the project’s most outspoken critics. Peace Valley Landowner Association President Ken Boon recently informed Canada’s new government of this, when he asked for their help, but Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has yet to intervene on Site C .
There were around 50 local residents and First Nations members gathered in front of the Old Fort Road entrance to the Site C Dam project. They arrived at 10 a.m. on Saturday, carried signs saying things like “Site C sucks,” “No Consent for Site C,” “Stop Site C, Run Burrard Thermal” and “Shame.” In the photograph at the top of this page, you see them blocking the gravel road, but this was a peaceful assembly and they moved aside when a truck drove up. The protests have begun at Site C.
According to a press release from the Wilderness Committee, the Union of BC municipalities (UBCM) has passed resolutions calling for the province to rescind the Order in Council that excluded Site C dam reservoir lands from the Agricultural Land Reserve and refer the project to the BC Utilities Commission. Both resolutions pertain to actions Premier Christy Clark’s government undertook to bypass supposedly independent provincial agencies. While neither are legally binding, UBCM told the Province to Stand Down over Site C.