The Mayor of Quesnel speaks out against Site C – says it threatens the viability of the industry that the town depends upon:

How Site C Will Hurt BC’s Forest Towns

Mills would face loss of biomass energy sales to BC Hydro, soaring rates.

By Bob Simpson Today | TheTyee.caBob Simpson is mayor of Quesnel and a former MLA for Cariboo North.

As the deadline nears for the provincial government’s momentous decision on whether to proceed with the $9-billion (and counting) Site C dam, one aspect of the controversial BC Hydro project deserves more attention: What do rising hydro rates and a glut of power mean for the financial viability of numerous forest companies and the rural communities they operate in?

Many forest companies produce more than just lumber, panels, pulp and pellets. Some also produce power that is sold under multi-year contracts to BC Hydro.

At present, 17 companies in B.C. produce a combined 850 megawatts of “biomass” power, or 77 per cent of the power available from Site C should that dam be completed. Those plants are diverse and include the Atlantic Power project in Williams Lake, a regionally significant thermal electric plant, and many pulp and paper mills and sawmills on Vancouver Island and throughout the Interior.

Chemical pulp mills in particular are at the forefront of forest company gains in energy efficiency and energy output, gains made largely possible by a $1-billion “green transformation” fund initiated by the federal government that assisted nearly 100 mills across the country.