When he was the leader of the opposition, John Horgan argued that Treaty 8 Nations “ have entrenched constitutional rights to practice hunting and fishing” on the land that will be underwater if the Site C Dam is built. The BC Utilities Commission recently concluded that “increasingly viable alternative energy sources such as wind, geothermal and industrial curtailment could provide similar benefits to [BC Hydro] ratepayers as the Site C project, with an equal or lower Unit Energy Cost.” Never-the less, today Premier John Horgan announced BC is moving forward with Site C.
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.
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 .
The transition to renewable energy is coming faster than most people realize. The technological advances that make it the adoption of larger amounts of intermittent energy possible are also needed to reinvigorate North America’s aging grid. Though there is still much resistance from corporations and governments with vested interests, the future of the fossil fuel sector lies in finding ways to fit into a more environmentally sensitive economy. The struggle to avoid Climate Change is not over. There are still many battles ahead, but the outcome has been decided. The next big issue is social license.