PRRD presses for action on Site C negotiations

The Peace River Regional District is pressing the province’s main political parties for action to finalize negotiations over the Site C dam and its impacts on regional services.

In a press release issued Monday, the PRRD noted most local governments and First Nations have negotiated agreements with BC Hydro over the dam’s construction. The PRRD says it has had discussions with BC Hydro, but that negative impacts on regional services continue without an agreement in place to mitigate them.

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“It is not too late to address the impacts we are facing,” Chair Brad Sperling said in a statement. “By getting an agreement in place now, it will be guided by actual, rather than forecast, impacts.”

The PRRD listed the following outstanding matters that need immediate attention:

  • Financial compensation for costs incurred to manage Site C solid waste.

  • Financial compensation for lost property tax revenues.

  • Measures to eliminate in perpetuity the effects from Site C on the Charlie Lake sewer system, including the depth at which the system’s outfall line (which previously discharged to the Peace River) will now be located within the newly-created Site C reservoir.

  • Plan to address detrimental effects which Site C will have on regional aggregate supply.

  • Ensure the right to future community water licenses for Regional District systems drawing on the Site C reservoir are protected and free from any charge for lost generation capacity.

  • Provide finished site grades and elevations to clarify the finished site profile of the 85th Avenue lands in order to ensure that the commitment to level the site for future industrial land uses will be fulfilled.

  • Provide a right of first refusal to the Regional District for the provision of fire protection services during Site C operations.

  • Minimize the role of the Regional District in the emergency management program for Site C with BC Hydro taking responsibility in a manner similar to oil and gas and other industries in the Peace region.

  • Address Site C related traffic safety concerns at Wuthrich Quarry on Beatton Park Road andother traffic issues which may arise at other locations.

  • Design, construct and maintain new boat launches at no cost to the Regional District.

  • Continue and as necessary enhance dust suppression efforts, especially in the Site C construction area.

  • Develop and implement a plan to retain heritage, cultural and archaeological artifacts in the region.

  • Determine whether Two Rivers Lodge assets should be transferred to the Regional District once the Lodge is decommissioned and engage the Regional District in planning for decommissioning of Site C.

  • Include additional financial compensation in recognition of the special effects which Site C construction is having on the residents and services of Electoral Area C of the Regional District, including those in the Old Fort community.

“We are not asking for extraordinary measures or attention that other local governments and First Nations have not received,” Sperling said.

“We simply want to make sure that Regional District services be maintained at least at pre-Site C levels, and that no additional burdens are placed on the Regional District so that residents and the Regional District are no worse off, and preferably better off, after Site C construction and operation.”

The PRRD says it sent letters to the BC Liberal, BC NDP, and BC Conservative parties, as well as candidates (including independent candidates) in the Peace River North and South ridings.

Email Managing Editor Matt Preprost at editor@ahnfsj.ca.

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