ICBA launches pro-Site C campaign in Fort St. John

As B.C. politicians ready for a confidence vote that could change the face of government and fate of the Site C dam Thursday afternoon, a provincial construction lobby group was in Fort St. John to launch a local campaign in support of the $8.8-billion project.

The Independent Contractors and Businesses Association says it supports the 2,200 workers employed at the dam and criticizes BC NDP and Green Leaders John Horgan and Andrew Weaver for proposing to subject the dam to an economic review if they are able to topple Premier Christy Clark and her BC Liberals today.

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"Our view is that Site C is a project that has been planned for over a decade, it's been reviewed and approved by the provincial government, reviewed and approved by the federal government," ICBA President Chris Gardner said.

"It's been sustained in nine different court cases, even today the Supreme Court of Canada rejected two applications to challenge Site C. This project is 20 per cent complete, with somewhere around $4 billion committed to this project. 

"It's important for our energy future. It would be irresponsible for taxpayers in British Columbia to have this project cancelled, and would do enormous damage to the 2,200 workers and families that would be impacted by losing their jobs," he said.

The ICBA, which recently expanded its operations to Northeast B.C. by merging with Energy Services BC, represents more than 2,000 members in the province, Gardner said. 

"A lot of our members are subcontractors, a lot of our members are in the supply chain," Gardner said.

The ICBA launched a poster campaign in the city, encouraging residents and businesses to post its recent front page ad in the Alaska Highway News in their windows. 

Mindy Bing, assistant branch manager at Driving Force, says her company holds a 10-year, multi-million contract to provide fleet vehicles for both Peace River Hydro Partners and BC Hydro. It represents between 70 to 75 per cent of the branch's current business, she said.

"We've always supported our local industry," she said. "We do whatever we can to help with that."

Bing believes Site C will have long-term benefits for the province, with future generations depending on its power in some capacity. Seeing the dam cancelled and losing its related contracts would be "devastating," she said.

"Not just to us as a business and community, but to British Columbia," Bing said.

"I don't even know how to put it into words. It would be detrimental to the province as a whole, not just Fort St. John and Driving Force."

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