Nothing in BCUC report to stop Site C construction: ICBA

Picture of heavy equipment.

The British Columbia Utilties Commission (BCUC) has concluded in its preliminary report that the Site C Clean Energy Project should continue, says ICBA. — Photo courtesy BC Hydro/BCUC

BURNABY, B.C.: The British Columbia Utilities Commission (BCUC) released its Preliminary Report regarding its Site C Inquiry and the initial findings confirm that construction on the Site C Clean Energy Project should continue.

“There is absolutely nothing in the BCUC Report that would lead anyone to conclude that construction on Site C should not continue,” said Chris Gardner, President of the Independent Contractors and Businesses Association (ICBA).

The findings in the Preliminary Report confirm that Site C is not only on time but is one year ahead of schedule and the project is coming in under budget.

“The BCUC’s review supports the previous work by third-party consultants reviewing the project and the independent Joint Review Panel that studied Site C for 29 months, the project makes sense and is the best way for B.C. to lock-in a source of clean power for the next 100 years,” said Gardner.

Key findings from the BCUC Preliminary Report include:

  • The Site C Project is, as of June 30, 2017, on time to start operating in November 2024.
  • BC Hydro is managing the project to a more aggressive schedule to put the dam in service in 2023, one year earlier than the 2024 date.
  • The BCUC confirmed that BC Hydro has identified cost savings in the Project that increase the amount of available contingency from the $794 million in the budget to a figure of $1.194 billion now.
  • The BCUC found that it is not yet in a position to assess the cost impact to ratepayers of continuing, suspending or terminating construction.

According to Gardner, it is not surprising that the BCUC faced challenges getting sufficient information in some areas since they were only given six weeks to prepare their Preliminary Report.

“The compressed calendar and the fact that Site C is 20% complete does raise a question regarding the real value of the government requesting the BCUC to undertake this review,” Gardner said.

ICBA launched its #Get2Yes on Site C campaign with a media event at BC Hydro’s Vancouver headquarters on June 8, using 2,252 Site C pink slips to illustrate how many people work on the Peace River dam site and who are risk of being fired.

Site C was more than a decade in the planning, has undergone extensive environmental assessments and regulatory reviews, and was signed off by both the federal and provincial governments. Both the process and project have been upheld in fourteen different judicial reviews in the BC Supreme Court, the BC Court of Appeal and the Federal Court of Canada.

“The one thing that is clear from the BCUC’s Preliminary Report is that the focus should be on completing Site C on-budget and on-time so that B.C. will benefit from this strategic investment in our long-term clean energy future,” Gardner said.

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