Independent media needs you. Join the Tyee.

The Hook: Political news, freshly caught

BC Hydro courts public with Site C plan

BC Hydro employees seem to outnumber members of the public at Site C dam public consultation in Vancouver this week.

They were eager to answer any questions, and explain any of charts, maps, pictures or descriptions of the project, which were printed on large placards placed around the room. Piles of documents sat on tables, waiting to be picked up.

In fact about 40 people filed through, a "good turnout", said BC Hydro community relations manager David Conway.

He said over the past year, BC Hydro has send 23,000 postcards to people in the region and held 40 stakeholder meetings and 17 open houses like this one.

BC Hydro has budgeted $40.1 million on this project definition and consultation phase, the second of a potential five-phase process over the next decade or so.

"It is a different era," said Dag Sharman, BC Hydro's senior media relations adviser, when asked how the planning process now compares to what it was in the late-1980s when the dam was last proposed. "We have a real focus on getting the public involved and finding out what people want to know."

Finola Finlay and Frank Koop lived in Fort. St. John for 30 years and remember when the dam was first proposed. Both said they were impressed by the amount of consultation this time around.

"You can bully your way through, but you'll have a lifelong enemy in the process," said Koop. "It's a unique environmental, a tough environment," said Koop. "People go there and think there is no place in heaven or hell as nice as that place."

And they're willing to fight for it. Hundreds have attended the public consultations in the Peace River region, and last month a group of people crashed a stakeholder meeting in Fort St. John bearing a banner that read 'Save the Peace.'

Finlay said most of her friends who live in Fort. St. John are worried about the loss of wildlife habitat and agricultural land – the dam will flood 5,340 hectares of the Peace River valley southeast of Fort St. John.

"All the right messages are here," said Finlay. "In the end it will really come down to, has BC Hydro listened?"

Find more in:

What have we missed? What do you think? We want to know. Comment below. Keep in mind:


  • Verify facts, debunk rumours
  • Add context and background
  • Spot typos and logical fallacies
  • Highlight reporting blind spots
  • Ignore trolls
  • Treat all with respect and curiosity
  • Connect with each other

Do not:

  • Use sexist, classist, racist or homophobic language
  • Libel or defame
  • Bully or troll
  • Troll patrol. Instead, flag suspect activity.
comments powered by Disqus