B.C.’s legislative reporters seem to agree that Site C is a go


A new bridge under construction near the Site C project in northern B.C. Photograph By Business in Vancouver

The NDP government has been meeting behind closed doors over the past couple of days debating the future of the controversial Site C dam project on the Peace River near Fort St John. Apparently a decision on it will be announced in the next few days, possibly as early as tomorrow.

Global Television’s Keith Baldrey has “read the tea leaves” and today he wrote THIS FEATURE about why he thinks Site C is going to be built.

Mike Smyth from The Province has been tweeting and reporting about how he feels there’s no other way this could possibly end than the mega project being built. Today he “doubled down” on it:

Mike Klassen, a regular columnist in the Vancouver Courier, seems to think it’s not going to happen and is wagering drinks on a “no” decision. However Tom Fletcher from Black Press seems to think otherwise, wondering on Twitter if he might be able to put a bet on it being built, seeing if Klassen might want to wager with him:

Journalists often “read the tea leaves” around politics in B.C. and prove to be wrong (OH HAI, ADRIAN DIX), and at this point it really seems to be anybody’s guess. The gov is working behind closed doors and seems to actually be debating the issue, not simply playing charades and acting as if they haven’t made a decision, as previous governments have.

My personal perspective on the issue has been informed a lot by Nelson Bennett from Business In Vancouver, who we now share an office with in Mount Pleasant (there are like 100 people here from a number of other Glacier Media publications).

For the past couple of months Nelson and I have been bumping into each other while getting coffee in the kitchen. His beat for BIV is energy and he’s written loads of articles about the dam over the years, back to when the paper was critical of the idea of it before they broke ground.

Nelson reads all of the reports, speaks with politicians and business folks alike, and has a good gauge on what’s happening on the ground and in Victoria.

And full disclosure, as I’ve written in the past: my dad is an electrician, Hydro has always put food on the table in my house in one way or another, and I support hydroelectric projects. I have many questions for Nelson.

A couple months ago he had no idea what the government might decide to do, then he shared an inkling with me about how “pressure is mounting” for the NDP government to approve the project. Yet there are no indications of what the NDP are going to decide will be the best way forward.

From my perspective, we’ve already put billions of dollars into the project which is a form of renewable energy, and if the government decides to kill it they’ll be spending billions more to try to bring the Peace River back to its original state. As taxpayers we’ll end up losing shit tons of money and then in the long run possibly paying more per kilowatt hour for the power in our homes.

We’ll see where it goes in the next few days, and then years beyond that when they either keep building the thing or spend a few more billion of our taxpayer dollars to restore the river to its original state.

Wherever this ends up it is certainly an interesting story to follow and will go down in the history books.