Approval of Site C Dam by B.C. Government an Environmental Outrage

OTTAWA – Elizabeth May, Leader of the Green Party of Canada and Member of Parliament for Saanich–Gulf Islands, today expressed her complete disappointment regarding the British Columbia Government’s decision to proceed with the construction of the proposed Site C dam. The decision shocked B.C.’s First Nations, environmental groups and farming communities who will be severely impacted should the project proceed.

“The Site C dam is at best, ill-conceived, misguided and an environmental outrage that clearly violates the constitutional rights of B.C.’s First Nations,” stated Elizabeth May. “It will also destroy B.C.’s local farming communities, whose lands will be flooded and their livelihoods lost forever.  It is simply not acceptable for the B.C. Government to arbitrarily decide to move ahead and approve a project that was doomed from the start and is opposed by so many.  It’s the wrong decision and I will work with those affected to make sure this project is never built.”

The Site C Joint Review Panel (JRP) between the federal and B.C. government found that the dam would have “significant adverse effects” on local vegetation, fish, birds, and some 23 protected wildlife species, and that these effects “cannot be mitigated.”

According to reports, the proposed Site C dam by B.C. Hydro would also flood over 5,500 hectares of land over an 83-kilometre stretch of valley containing high-quality farmland and pristine forest on Treaty 8 First Nations lands.  Farming in these communities would also be severely impacted by the flooding of the Peace River Valley. It would rank as B.C.’s most expensive public project.

Ms. May called on the B.C. Liberals to respect First Nations’ rights and reject this short-sighted project, whose only purpose is to power proposed LNG extraction projects in the province.

Adam Olsen, Interim-Leader of the B.C. Green Party, supported the call from Elizabeth May. He added, “Premier Christy Clark’s decision completely ignored the constitutionally protected rights of the First Nations in the area. The government is attempting to hand off to B.C. Hydro the relationships they are responsible for building and maintaining. The government has established aggressive timelines for starting this project which overlook the looming legal challenges of First Nations and land owners.”

“Given the Joint Review Panel findings that there is no need for Site C in the near term, I can see little reason as to why the B.C. Liberals would approve this project, which is opposed by all First Nations communities in the affected region,” concluded Ms. May. “The Treaty Rights of the Treaty 8, Saulteau and Blueberry River First Nations must be protected.”