Creative Accounting & Long-term Job Gains

Today's headline: a look at BC Hydro's history of overstating its budget successes; the Green Party makes some predictions as the final decision looms; UBC's Program of Governance analysis indicates terminating Site C in favour of alternatives results in substantial job gains in the medium- and long-term. 

B.C. Hydro’s Accounting Too Clever by Half

There’s a lesson for Mungall from the exchange: Don’t accept everything Hydro says as gospel, and for Redies: There’s nothing to celebrate when it comes to the utility’s accounting practices.

NDP Decision Expected by End of Year

Energy experts representing residents in the Peace River area, where the dam is under construction, said the utilities commission report answered the questions about the $4 billion.

“The BCUC treatment of these costs is consistent with economic theory and practice and concludes that there is no cost advantage to proceeding with Site C,” U.S. energy expert Robert McCullough says in a letter on behalf of the Peace Valley Landowner Association.

UBC’s Program on Water Governance: Compelling Analysis of Employment Generated by Project

Our analysis indicates that terminating Site C and pursuing the alternatives results in modest job losses in the short term, and substantial job gains in the medium and long-term


Alternatives are the Answer

Headlines this week: more on geothermal and solar alternatives; international scientists agree Canada's biggest national park among most threatened; questioning the employment statistics. 

Geothermal District Energy System Means No Outside Power Needed

“BC Hydro says they won’t need the power (from Site C) for 15 to 20 years. By that time, we’ll have a lot of these energy alternatives working and we won’t need Site C at all. And the alternatives will be even cheaper by that time,” said Steves.

Awesome Power of Solar

The BC Utilities Commission has in essence concluded that we don’t need Site C, and that there are better ways to make electricity now. I agree, and will add that these better ways of making energy will create more and better, longer-term jobs, developing new clean resources our province is rich in. And these new energy sources, like the jobs that go with them, will last forever. 

Protect Canada's Biggest National Park

“The big threats are from hydro dam development,” said Carolyn Campbell of the Alberta Wilderness Association.Scientists have long warned about the slow drying of the Peace-Athabasca Delta from the Bennett Dam in British Columbia. BC Hydro’s planned Site C dam is expected to worsen those effects.

Keep Asking Questions

114 citizens from across the province, including residents of Fort St. John, have sent an open letter to B.C. Premier John Horgan raising their concerns with BC Hydro’s employment statistics for the Site C dam project.


Megaproject Boondoggle

The latest: a Financial Post article looking at the determination of provincial leaders to bury pet megaprojects; a reminder that there is only one right answer on the future of the project; a letter writing party is scheduled to be sure the NDP government knows that answer is no. 

Politicians Hide Megaproject Boondoggles

"In B.C., it’s more of the same, as one ratings agency warned that deteriorating finances at the provincially owned utility, BC Hydro, could result in a taxpayer-financed bailout, which would ultimately wind up on the province’s balance sheet. That risk will only increase in the coming years. The public utility’s spending binge, most notably on the near $9-billion (and counting) Site C megaproject, will see its debt increase to $20 billion, up from $8 billion in 2008."

There's One Right Answer

“There is little that can be done to remediate slopes that have tension cracks and incipient shears on this scale. What happens is that groundwater moves down the cracks and along more permeable bedding planes. It has the effect of softening and weakening these layers, which have abundant swelling clay minerals, as you know. As a result, you end up with a big block of shale sitting on a very slippery surface with no cohesion in the backslope due to the tension cracks.” 

Letter Writing Party: Be Sure the NDP Government Knows You Want the Project Cancelled

Now's the time to write to Premier Horgan and key cabinet ministers to let them know you want them to make the decision to cancel Site C dam for good. They are our representatives and we need them to hear us loud and clear before they make a final decision on this devastating and unnecessary project.

Independent Review Complete: It's Time to Say No

Today: the latest FAQ from the Peace River Landowner Association on the inquiry into Site C and why the BC government must heed independent guidance on the project. 

The Correct Answers to Key Questions on Site C

By cancelling Site C, British Columbia avoids a much bigger risk to its Triple-A rating – the debt that comes with a project that will be well over budget.

An open letter to Premier John Horgan: Site C job numbers lack public verification

Open Letter to the Honourable John Horgan, Premier and MLA, B.C. Cabinet Ministers and all other Members of the Legislative Assembly

From: Harold Steves, Bob Fedderly, Steve Gray, Mae Burrows, Ken and Arlene Boon and 108 other concerned citizens.

Site C job numbers lack public verification

The BC Utilities Commission (BCUC) Inquiry into Site C was long overdue. Its final report is based on an independent review of contradictory evidence, expert testimony, public input and First Nations’ input.

The inquiry process was completed on time and provides compelling information in support of cancelling this project.

We urge you to resist the temptation now to re-test the evidence in the court of public opinion, with lobbyists and with the project proponent. The latter groups already have provided their input to the Commission as have a range of experts and those opposed to the project.

We are of the opinion that your government should respect the findings of the appointed regulator with oversight of these matters. We believe that to do otherwise, would be to sully the decision- making process laid out by government when you charged the BCUC to undertake this review.

The project is late, over-budget and it’s been shown that we don’t need the energy. We can generate more electricity without flooding our farms and sensitive ecosystems. We can avoid encroaching on First Nations land title. And, for every dollar spent, retrofits create twice as many jobs as dam construction.

We think a better energy plan would produce good paying jobs close to home in communities throughout BC. Keeping life affordable under the circumstances means limiting rate increases to only those made necessary by cancellation of the project.

We also recognize and applaud your government’s commitment to improving public infrastructure and creating tens of thousands of construction jobs around BC.

It is against this backdrop that we have become increasingly alarmed about the position of some members of the Legislative Assembly, the ICBA (Independent Contractors Business Association), CLAC (the Christian Labour Association of Canada) and some in the media who persist in making Site C about jobs.

This is a diversion. Their boosterism should not stand in the way of recognizing that Site C must be terminated to respect First Nation land title. It should be terminated for economic, food security and environmental reasons.

It is our view that some of the job numbers being bandied about are significantly inflated. We are concerned that public confusion on this point may make things more complicated for decision- makers, in an already complex situation.

In order to assist decision-makers, we have formulated a list of information requests whose answers may put these concerns to rest. These are presented in the attached Appendix I.

Regarding the jobs claims, the fact is that few, if any, of the trades jobs at Site C would have lasted for the duration of the project. Construction projects don’t offer the same tradesperson a decade-long job, so we feel that it is disingenuous for individuals to claim that they moved to Site C for a ten-year job. Moving from one site to the next is the nature of construction work.

On the other hand, when the project is cancelled the government can implement a better energy and jobs plan. This will help address the legitimate need for employment in trades throughout BC. Cancellation will allow the government to provide more jobs, higher- quality jobs and more permanent jobs, than would be afforded by continuing Site C.

There will also be considerable work required to restore the site upon cancellation. This work should form part of a labour adjustment strategy for the BC resident workforce presently employed at Site C.

In summary, we think it is past due for your government to compel BC Hydro to provide the public a detailed explanation of the human resources deployed in the construction of Site C.

We make this request because it is our view that the public is poorly informed on Site C and, in particular, on the jobs questions that have been raised. We feel that greater transparency would be low-risk, low-cost and provide important information in support of your government’s decision to cancel Site C.

Sincerely yours,

Harold Steves, Richmond
Bob Fedderly, Fort St. John Mae Burrows, Burnaby
Andrea Morrison, Fort St. John
Adrienne Peacock, Belcarra
Rita Wong, Vancouver
Jackie Larkin, Metchosin
D Lynn Chapman, Roberts Creek
Fae Shaw, Kelowna
Candace Batycki, Nelson
Diane Culling, Fort St. John
Claire Kujundzic, Wells
Bill Horne, Wells
Dr. Amy Lubik, Port Moody
Charlotte Ericson, Victoria
Heather Menzies, Gabriola Island
Patricia Hill, Summerland
Alan Dolan, Sooke
Ruth Ann Darnall, Fort St. John
Taryn Skalbnania, Peachland
Terry Dance-Bennink, Victoria
Karen and David Kellett, Prince George
Rob Taylor, Peachland
Si Transken, Prince George
Hedy Conwright, Wells
Ken Forest, Charlie Lake
Ross Peck, Hudson's Hope
Danielle Layman, Fort St. John
Wendy Holm, Bowen Island
Harold Rhenisch, Vernon
Crystal Spicer, Edgewood
Kathryn Cook, Victoria
Susan Clarke, Sooke
Patricia Hill, Summerland
Rob Taylor, Peachland
Dirk van Stralen, Wells
Charlotte Kurta, Quesnel
Theresa Healy, Prince George
Elaine Hooper, Sooke
Lynn Shervill, Smithers
Ken and Arlene Boon, Fort St. John Steve Gray, Victoria
George Smith, Gibsons
Galen Armstrong, Salt Spring Island
Vicky Husband, Saanich
Randy Hadland, Dawson Creek
Eoin Finn, Squamish
Morag Keegan-Henry, Vancouver
Dave Talbot, Comox
Fred Wah, Kootenay Lake
Des Wilson, Belcarra
Laurel Hadland, Baldonnel
Hajime Naka, Kelowna
Carol Kergan, Kelowna
Peter Chataway, Kelowna
Patricia Munro, Kelowna
Mark Haley, East Kelowna
B. Gail Riddell, Sechelt
John Kidder, Ashcroft
Patricia Hill, Summerland
Donna Denison, West Kelowna
Dale Zeich, West Kelowna
Alison Moore, Peachland
Verena Hofmann, Montenay
Jessica Klein, Peachland
Joe Klein, Peachland
John D Turnbull, Roberts Creek
David Y. Khang, Vancouver
Ellen Woodsworth, Vancouver
Jean Swanson, Vancouver
Jane Munro, Vancouver
Fiona T Lam, Vancouver
Kari Hewett, Vancouver
Mimi Gellman, Vancouver
Andrew Faulkner, Victoria
Katie Hayhurst, Bella Coola
Dave Jorgenson, Wells
Joe Foy, New Westminster
Anne Hill, Terrace
Margaret Ouwehand, Kitimat
Karen Kellett, Prince George
Freya Keddie, Victoria
David Kellett, Prince George
Dirk van Stralen, Wells
Harold Rhenisch, Vernon
Eva Manly, Nanaimo
Si Transken, Prince George
Jay Gildon, Smithers
Hedy Conwright, Prince George
Jeffrey Dinsdale, Quesnel
Jacqueline Holler, Prince George
Dennis Kuch, Bella Coola
Pat Moss, Smithers
Nadia Nowak, Prince George
Robert Mellalieu, West Kelowna
Sheila Peters, Smithers
Judy Campbell, Wells
Alison Candela, Smithers
Peter Kerr, Kelowna
Greg Knox, Terrace
Michael Kerr, Kelowna
Lois Beischer, West Kelowna
Janette McIntosh, Vancouver
Des Nobels, Prince Rupert
Wendy Brooks, Prince Rupert
Karen Abramsen, West Kelowna
Charlotte Kurta, Quesnel
Theresa Healy, Prince George
Dave Jorgenson, Wells
Larry Barzelai, Vancouver
Warren Bell, Salmon Arm
Jason Bednar, West Kelowna 

Intense Scrutiny Continues

The latest today: provincial Ministers head north for last-minute consultations; Peace Valley Landowner Association dispute the jobs claim; another letter against the project; more on the hard-hitting radio ads running as of November 9. 

B.C. Grapples with Future of Site C, as Premier Horgan Sends Ministers North

The heat is on, said Premier John Horgan, who is sending his ministers of Indigenous relations and energy to the region for consultations with First Nations and community representatives this week.

Opponents of Site C Don't Believe Jobs Numbers

But Boon, who still lives on the farm that has been officially expropriated for the project, says his observations have led him to a different conclusion about how many workers there are.

“There’s a lot of parked equipment. The parking lots at the camp are empty. When you go to the lookout and look down on the construction site, I would be surprised if there were half the workers there.”

LETTER: It is Morally Wrong to Continue with Site C Dam Project

It is time to cut our losses, terminate the project and begin remediation. Save some of our best farmland and respect the Indigenous rights of the local First Nations. The lost jobs could be replaced in alternative energy projects such as geothermal, wind and solar.

Citizen-funded Radio Ads Urge Site C Cancellation

Immediately after the BC Government announces a decision on Site C at the end of the year, the groups will put a second ad on air to respond to the government’s decision.