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Site C cost jumps to $8.5 billion

The cost just jumped for the proposed Site C dam. Premier Christy Clark’s office confirmed that $8.5 billion is “in the range” of how much Site C could cost – and that number could go even higher. “(The cost) could be a bit higher in the end but $8.
river
The Peace River.

The cost just jumped for the proposed Site C dam.

Premier Christy Clark’s office confirmed that $8.5 billion is “in the range” of how much Site C could cost – and that number could go even higher.

“(The cost) could be a bit higher in the end but $8.5 (billion) is in the range,” Clark’s press secretary Sam Oliphant said in an e-mail.

Dave Conway, a spokesman for the project, said that $8.5 billion is “within the range” of a revised cost estimate.

“Government asked us to develop a cost estimate that would have greater contingencies for unforeseen costs such as higher than forecast inflation or interest rate fluctuations that are different than anticipated,” he wrote. 

The proposed megadam, to be built seven kilometers from Fort St. John, would provide electricity and jobs to the area, but many have criticized it for potential costs and environmental damage.

“British Columbia will prioritize LNG over a proposed hydroelectric dam, the (Canadian dollar) $8.5 billion Site C project, if labor estimates show it will put LNG projects at a disadvantage in securing workers,” Clark was quoted as saying to U.S. news outlet Bloomberg. 

The project’s estimated cost had been $7.9 billion, according to Hydro estimates.

Rob Botterell, a Vancouver lawyer and Site C critic, called the news “an astounding admission.”

“I think it’s absolutely remarkable and really calls into questions the cost estimates for this project,” he said. “This only reinforces my view that Site C is a fundamentally flawed project from a financial perspective.”

“LNG is our priority in British Columbia and we don’t need to do Site C in order to fuel up the LNG industry,” Clark was also quoted as saying.

Potential cost overruns were some of the concerns expressed at Site C public review hearings that were held earlier this year.

reporter@ahnfsj.ca