Skip to content

Year delay for Site C would cost $335M: BC Hydro

A year-long delay on Site C construction would tack on $335 million to the dam’s costs, BC Hydro says. The Crown utility filed an illuminating response in B.C. Supreme Court Aug.
zxvzxv

A year-long delay on Site C construction would tack on $335 million to the dam’s costs, BC Hydro says.

The Crown utility filed an illuminating response in B.C. Supreme Court Aug. 12, challenging a pair of Treaty 8 First Nations who are seeking an injunction on the dam’s construction until their provincial and federal legal cases are concluded.

“Stopping this work pending the hearing of the proceeding creates a serious likelihood that the project will be delayed by a full year because critical milestones will be missed,” Hydro lawyers wrote.

“The estimated increase in project costs if the project is delayed for a year is $335 million.”

Hydro has already pegged the cost of the dam at $8.8 billion, which includes contingencies.

According to court documents, Hydro estimates the delay will drive up interest rates, add demobilization and remobilization expenses, and  add other sunk costs.

Hydro even goes so far to note that a delay would imperil Chetwynd contractor Paul Paquette and Sons Construction, which has been awarded a contract to clear sections of the south bank of the Peace River.

“(Paul Paquette and Sons) has no other source of work if its clearing contract is suspended and would face severe problems retaining employees and paying its costs,” the documents state, quoting affidavits from Todd Powell and Hydro employee Siobhan Jackson, which were not publicly available.

Hydro documents from 2012 list Powell as an employee of Paul Paquette and Sons Construction.

Calls to Paquette’s Chetwynd office asking for confirmation about this statement were not returned as of press time.

Preliminary construction work for the dam began July 27.

However, both West Moberly and Prophet River First Nations filed an application in court Aug. 4 against the 36 provincial permits that allowed the work to proceed. The two nations have a pair of cases in both the B.C. and Canadian Supreme Courts against the dam’s environmental assessment certificate issued by the B.C. government.

The two bands are seeking an injunction on the permits, which would require Hydro to stop work on parts of the project, until the courts have ruled on the bands' lawsuits and the project’s legality.

Hydro did not accept any of their requests for an injunction. Hydro says additional costs to the project will be borne by ratepayers. 

The claims have yet to be proven in court.

A hearing date on this petition is scheduled for Aug. 18.                                               

reporter@ahnfsj.ca