Around 50 Site C opponents staged the first of what may be many rallies at the dam site Saturday morning.
Outside the site entrance off the Old Fort Road, people lit a fire, drummed, and paraded signs as trucks came and went from the busy work site.
The protest, which began around 10 a.m., was peaceful and did not disrupt work on the site. Protesters say they're gearing up for future rallies aimed at stopping the dam.
Local Green Party candidate Liz Biggar organized the protest and promised to fight Site C if she is elected.
“(Site C is) an insane idea,” Biggar said. “We’re going to be flooding prime agricultural land to subsidize oil and gas, in an nutshell.”
Biggar added that farmland across the country will be impacted by climate change, increasing the importance of Northeast B.C. as a future agricultural hub.
“This is going to be our breadbasket,” she said.
One of the protestors on site was Ken Boon.
“The sense we are getting is people are frustrated,” he said. “Due process has not happened on this project, and that has resulted in this turnout.”
Boon blasted the province for exempting the dam from review by the BC Utilities Commission as an example of due process being skirted in its approval.
“This is the most expensive infrastructure project in B.C. history and we’re not going to properly review it?” Boon said.
Another protester, Ryan Chelle, said the food that can be grown in the areas to be flooded by the dam’s reservoir outweighed the electricity the dam would produce.
“What would you rather do, eat electricity or eat food?” he said.
Another protester, Chris Paull, is against the dam partially because of the damage it would cause to what he felt was a very beautiful valley.
“I used to hang glide up there in Bear Flat. I spent hours up there, floating around with the eagles and hawks, and it grows on you,” he said. “It’s just a shame to flood that valley.”
Some travelled to be there, including long-time Green Party supporter Cathy Fortin out of Prince George. Fortin is concerned the dam would be used to power B.C.’s liquefied natural gas industry, something she feels is unnecessary.
“(With the) Site C dam, they’re taking everything away from us,” she said. “We’re not getting the oil, we’re not getting the power, all we’re getting is the mess and the ruin.”
She expressed her support for Biggar. “She’s a strong girl and she fights for what’s right,” said Fortin. “You can knock her down and she gets back up. That’s what we need (in the Green Party).”
Treaty 8 Tribal Association member Verena Hoffman felt that it “means something” to have people come out and speak against the Site C dam.
“No one should think that anyone’s closed on the book on this journey that we’re doing to preserve and protect our Peace River valley,” she said. “It will go on for decades until our valley is protected...there will be a way for us to find a stop through this whether it’s in the courts or whether it’s in the people coming together.”