Site C communication contradictions

Re: ‘Site C dam studied for decades, being built to last,’ Letters, Sept. 8, 2018

This letter is in response to Ken McKenzie’s letter “Site C dam studied for decades, being built to last.” McKenzie is the executive vice president for the Site C project. He clearly found it necessary to respond personally to our earlier article also in the Alaska Highway with the title: “The Northeast is rich in shale, but can it hold up Site C?”

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Mr. McKenzie called our article an opinion piece, which it certainly reflects, but his response was hardly any different, being vague, misleading, containing even more BC Hydro platitudes. In other words, it was also his opinion piece.

It is obvious that Mr. McKenzie did not read our article very carefully. He stated that we questioned slope stability at the Site C location, which we did not. We would have liked to have had a closer look at those slopes, but that would have resulted in being charged or arrested with trespassing and in violation of a court injunction. All we tried to do was to point out that shale is not bedrock, due to shale’s properties and may not make a sound foundation due to the massive structural weight of the dam.

The very recent massive (on-going) landslide near the Old Fort Road and village should convince even the most stubborn supporters of Site C that no part of the Peace Valley is stable. That was our initial intent for writing our article.

For the past few years, we have written many articles and op-eds critical of Site C, published in the Alaska Highway News other B.C. newspapers and magazines. This is the first time that an executive of BC Hydro (from Vancouver) had responded directly, mentioning our names. Have we touched a sore point?

Another question: Why would BCH have spent decades and tens of millions of dollars studying the Peace River-Site C geology unless they had encountered difficulties and problems all along?
Dave Conway, spokesman for BCH stated back in August that, “we are not looking for bedrock. The dam is going to rest on shales.”

Yet, Mr. McKenzie makes a contradictory comment in his response letter: “We’ve hit shale bedrock on both the north and south banks. On the south bank we have removed bedrock to create the area for the concrete foundation.”

McKenzie’s term “shale bedrock” caught our attention because Dave Conway clearly separated the two words. McKenzie’s coined term “shale bedrock” is simply that, made up or fabricated.
So, here we have it. Mr. Conway states one thing, that BCHydro is not looking for bedrock, then Mr. McKenzie creates a new term “shale bedrock.” Very reassuring.

Seems that BC Hydro is at it once again, using their version of damage control by distorting the facts and the related safety issues for the public.

We can only imagine that the folks from the Old Fort area are equally reassured by McKenzie’s comments.

— Mike Kroecher and Rick Koechl, Charlie Lake 

© Copyright 2018 Alaska Highway News

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