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Agriculture a focus of Site C consultations

Much like school, BC Hydro took a consultation break for the summer, but is now back at it in full force. The provincial Crown corporation will be hosting further project definition consultations in the Peace Region this week.


Much like school, BC Hydro took a consultation break for the summer, but is now back at it in full force.


The provincial Crown corporation will be hosting further project definition consultations in the Peace Region this week.


In an earlier interview, Dave Conway, BC Hydro's community relations manager for the Site C project, said this consultation will focus on a number of things.


"They're much like the spring consultations where they're specific to four topics," said Conway. "This time we're looking for feedback on worker accommodations, on the road access, on the clearing plan and on agriculture."


He noted that it would be part of the BC Hydro-led consultations, as opposed to the joint environmental review. A group of BC Hydro experts will be on hand at open houses and stakeholder meetings to answer any questions people may have.


BC Hydro will be travelling from Fort St. John to Dawson Creek, Taylor, Chetwynd and Hudson's Hope over the course of the next few days to focus on what stakeholders and the general public have to say.


"Much like we did with the formatting in the spring, there's a discussion guidebook that people can either get a hard copy of at the consultation offices in Hudson's Hope or Fort St. John, or it's online and a lot of in depth information on all four of those topics and feedback questions at the back of the booklet," said Conway.


He said if people don't want to use the guidebook to submit their input, they can also email, drop in to a consultation office, phone or fax any thoughts they may have.


"What ends up happening with the information we gather from people, we will produce again a consultation summary report basically outlining what we heard from people and the feedback we received and ultimately what we'll produce is a document that basically outlines what we did with that input," Conway said. "How it was used, or if it wasn't used, why it wasn't used."


"The information ultimately will help us in regards to defining our environmental impact statement on these topics," he continued.


He explained that the more people who submit information, the more "robust" the environmental impact statement will be.


"It makes what we file with the regulators a much better document," he said. "Things that we hear actually can end up changing different aspects related to the project."


Conway said BC Hydro plans to file their environmental impact statement in early 2013.


Site C is a controversial hydroelectric dam project on the Peace River, seven kilometres south of Fort St. John. It is currently undergoing an environmental assessment by the federal and provincial government.


The environmental assessment guidelines have just been released.