History of PVEA and Site C Dam proposal

The Peace Valley Environment Association was formed in 1975 to counter the proposal by BC Hydro and Power Authority to build the Site C dam and power station on the Peace River, 18km upstream from Taylor and 6.5km southwest of Fort St. John, BC.

The development of the Peace River valley between the Peace Canyon and Alberta border had been the subject of continuing study at BC Hydro for a number of years prior to 1971 when engineering studies were undertaken. From 1976 until 1980, BC Hydro concentrated on building a case for the development of Site C. These studies culminated in their application for an Energy Project Certificate.

In the early 1980’s, the PVEA, together with the West Coast Environment Law Association, The Society for the Promotion of Environmental Conservation, the Sierra Club, and many other groups and individuals combined to mount a vigorous campaign to stop BC Hydro from flooding the valley. This campaign was successful in convincing the British Columbia Utilities Commission that BC Hydro’s application should be refused.

BCUC Review and Rejection of Site C in 1983

In 1983, the BC government turned down BC Hydro’s application for building Site C dam. This is what was said:

Approved and ordered Nov. 10, 1983
(R. J. Rogers)

On the recommendation of the undersigned, the Lieutenant-Governor, by and with the advice and consent of the Executive Council, orders that the report and recommendations of the Utilities Commission to the Lieutenant-Governor in Council on disposition of British Columbia Hydro and Power Authority’s application for an energy project certificate for Peace River Site C Hydroelectric generating station, together with its appendices and the Site C Division’s report on the review procedures and recommendations for future reviews, be made public, and that the energy project certificate applied for be refused.

(Stephen Rogers)
Minister of Energy, Mines and
Petroleum Resources

R. Bennett
Presiding Member of the Executive Council

Site C Report: Report And Recommendations To Lieutenant-governor-in-council

On November 9th, 1983 the BC government turned down the BC Hydro and Power Authority’s application for an energy certificate that would have enabled BC Hydro to build Site C dam. This decision was based, in part, on the conclusions reached by the British Columbia Utilities Commission.
The Commission concluded that a full comparison of the alternative system plans feasible in light of the forecast load requirements must be done in order to determine whether Site C is the best project to follow Revelstoke. The Commission emphasizes that alternative system plans, not individual projects, must be compared. Moreover, the comparisons must be made in a manner consistent with the evaluation criteria government has established to ensure that new energy projects are in the provincial interest.

The Commission therefore recommends that Cabinet defer issuing an energy project certificate for the proposed Site C project until the following two conditions are satisfied:

1. That an acceptable load forecast demonstrates that construction of Site C must begin immediately in order to avoid supply deficiencies; and

2. That a comparison of the total engineering, construction, environmental and other social costs of the alternative system expansion plans which can meet the forecast requirements demonstrates that Site C is the best project to meet the anticipated supply deficiency.

British Columbia Utilities Commission (May 3, 1983). SITE C REPORT – Report and recommendations to Lieutenant-Governor-in Council. p.126.

Present status of Site C dam

Site C dam underwent a 3-year environmental assessment review that began in August, 2011.  On October 14, 2014, the federal and provincial governments announced that an environmental certificate was approved for the project.  On December 16, 2014, the BC provincial government announced that it planned to proceed with Site C.

Despite the fact that the BC government announced that they intend to proceed with Site C, we are confident that it will not come to fruition as six court challenges have been launched against it!  the court challenges have been launched against both the federal and provincial governments by the AB and BC Treaty 8 First Nations as well as the Peace Valley Landowner Association.

The latter challenge is to be heard in the BC Supreme Court starting on April 20, 2014.  Dates for the additional five challenges have yet to be set.

The PVEA is optimistic that these challenges will stop the dam.  They are solid cases that have the potential to set very important precedents for both BC and Canada.

PVEA’s plans to continue with the Site C battle

PVEA will continue to work to ensure that the court of public opinion against Site C is loud and clear! Our organization works collaboratively with a number of other groups including Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative (Y2Y), BC Wilderness Committee, Sierra Club BC and Treaty 8 Tribal Association. Additionally, funding supported has been gratefully received from West Coast Environmental Law’s Environmental Dispute Resolution Fund, Vancouver Foundation, Y2Y, BC Women’s Institute and many generous individuals.

Site C is not in the best interests of British Columbians for a multitude of reasons ranging form economic, social, cultural and environmental. It will result in an oversupply of power for many years and will cost BC Hydro ratepayers billions of dollars. If and when additional power sources are required in the province, there are many better and less expensive alternatives.

Please help Save BC from Site C and support the work of the PVEA. Contact, donation and membership information is here: https://keepingthepeace.wordpress.com/2014/07/01/join-the-pvea/.

Thank you for your interest and support! 🙂