Dammed if you do and dammed if you don’t that is the position the BC Government has been in making a decision on the future of the Site C dam. The original cost estimate in 2010 was 7.9 billion. Construction delays, safety and structural concerns and some public opposition has seen the estimate now reach 16 billion. Many were hoping the government would shut it down but the Premier announced it will be built.
Yes the Liberal Government at the time took some costly short cuts that proved to be expensive decisions however before wagging a finger remember the NDP were opposed to it but they made the decision to continue.
In the end, god knows how much we will shell out before completion. This project can be described as a political hangover that spans two governments. The intent to build it was as a revenue generator from the power and not primarily for our domestic use.
Instead of ending the project the Horgan government had a study done to determine the safety of construction and it turns out the project can be salvaged with additional costs to shore up weaknesses. The reason to continue was not for the jobs alone according to the government. If the project ended BC Hydro customers would face utility hikes around twenty-six percent and the ability to finance future projects could be in jeopardy. The pull the plug price tag would be around ten billion dollars.
I have never favored this project I want you to know that as the writer of this column. Although not over joyed I understand the reasons for continuing with the project. It should be remembered the project saw great controversy when started by the former government. Also consider every project started by any BC government has seen opposition.
I remember some of them including the Mica Dam on the Columbia River for US Flood control. Yes it effected the overall environment but it also proved to be an economic generator and it still benefits two countries.
Like every other project – history will be the final judge.