The mayor of Hudson’s Hope has criticized BC Hydro over documents it sent explaining how they hope to impact the mitigate the impact of the proposed Site C dam.
“This latest action by BC Hydro makes a mockery of the cabinet approval process and calls into question the repeated public assurances of Minister of Energy Bill Bennett that
building Site C is not a fait accompli,” said Mayor Gwen Johansson. “BC Hydro is at the very least being fiscally irresponsible by running up project costs before cabinet has decided whether or not to approve Site C.”
Six draft documents were sent out by BC Hydro detailing a variety of impacts the project is expected to have on local communities, including Fort St. John, according to City Manager Dianne Hunter.
These documents discussed the dam’s impacts on health care, local business, the environment and other issues, and how Hydro planned to mitigate it.
Right now, the utility is looking for comments from the municipalities and Aboriginal groups about their plans “a minimum of 90 days before any work at site, in order to allow time for input into the plans,” Site C spokesman Dave Conway said in an e-mail.
“By submitting these draft plans for review and input, BC Hydro is complying with these federal and provincial conditions of environmental approval,” Conway wrote. “However, no site preparation activities will take place unless the project receives a final investment decision from the Province.”
Some of these issues had been mentioned before, and were part of the conditions Hydro was bound to by the environmental assessment certificate granted earlier this month. For instance, one plan involves building a daycare that, according to the draft, would have 37 spaces.
“The final number of spaces will be determined based on a specific proposal,” the draft document states.
Another would be a medical clinic to address “non-urgent health issues” for the workers residing in the camp.
“The medical clinic will provide Project workers with access to primary and preventative health care, and work-related injury evaluation and treatment services to reduce demand on service providers in the community,” the document states. “The clinic is not intended to replace provincial health care services such as hospital, emergency room or specialist care for serious medical incidents.”
This could be done through telemedicine, as well.
Hunter said that these drafts would still have to be debated by City Council to determine whether or not Fort St. John would find the measures acceptable.