Site C Dam construction on the Peace River in 2017. Photo by Jason Woodhead/Flickr

Do Nanaimo candidates support the Site C dam?

We sent MLA candidates your election questions. Here’s what we heard.
Lauren Kaljur October 21, 2020

“Currently there is uncertainty that the Site C dam can be safely built, particularly without costs becoming untenable.  How do the candidates envision the process of determining whether the process should proceed, and at what point and under what circumstances would they stop work?”

That’s a question The Discourse heard after we asked what questions you have for provincial election candidates. 

We sent the question to candidates in the Nanaimo riding. BC Liberal candidate Kathleen Jones did not respond to the request by the deadline. We will update this story if we receive a response.

The Discourse is offering pop-up election coverage in Nanaimo based on feedback from residents. Sign up to get our stories straight to your inbox. If enough people want us to continue in-depth coverage in Nanaimo, we’ll stick around. 

Sheila Malcolmson, BC NDP

The BC Liberals recklessly approved the Site C project. They refused to let BC’s
independent energy watchdog, the BC Utilities Commission, review the project and they signed off on a design that included significant geological risks. We have been
clear that Site C is not a project we would have started. But our government was
forced to make a decision looking forward, not back. And we weren’t willing to ask
British Columbians to take on $4 billion in debt – this would have put badly needed
investments in schools, hospitals and other important infrastructure projects at risk.
The global COVID-19 pandemic and geological challenges have dramatically added
to these challenges. BC Hydro is in the process of conducting a rebaselining analysis
of the project. Additionally, in July, our government appointed Mr. Peter Milburn, a
former Deputy Minister of Finance, as a special advisor to review the project and
provide independent advice. We take this very seriously, and a re-elected BC NDP
government will carefully consider BC Hydro’s analysis and Mr. Milburn’s advice.

Lia Versaevel, BC Green Party

Site C should have come to a screeching halt three years ago. It was cavalier and
reckless for the NDP to side with the Liberals and ram through a continue work order in
December 2017, early in their mandate, after decrying the project vocally while in
opposition. Displacing farmers, threatening our food security, and flooding indigenous
lands without consultation or consent was wrong. The dam was already behind
schedule and over budget at the time this decision was made. We are now encumbering future generations for the expense and the ecological destruction resulting from flooding 5,500 hectares in the pristine Peace Valley Geologists have reported for decades that the instability of the shores make this project doomed to fail. BC Hydro has known for years that the earthquakes caused by fracking in the northern regions of the province pose unresolvable risks to the construction of a dam. Work should stop immediately, and the man camps that are now an additional hotbed of Covid-19 transmission should also be shuttered. These same people can be employed next summer to remediate the disastrous mess that the construction has caused so far.