There could be a big political problem building for the opponents of the Site C dam project.
That’s Vaughn Palmer’s take on a press briefing by BC Hydro yesterday. He spoke with Simi Sara today about what the latest Site C developments mean for the project, and the province.
A temporary bridge across the river, big chunks of the site cleared, over $3 billion locked in already, getting ready to award the contracts to buy the generators and the turbines for the power station. That was the message from BC Hydro yesterday.
By election time next year, they figure they will have spent almost $2 billion and have locked in between $3-5 billion.
That will pretty hard to walk away from.
And it’s good timing for B.C., as all across western Canada other oil and gas (LNG) projects are being put on hold.
That means Site C is probably the biggest action in Western Canada in terms of major resource construction.
LISTEN to the full interview with Vaughn Palmer here:
The Western Canada job generator
Hydro says they’ve had about 5,000 people show up at their work fairs, all looking for a job on Site C.
They’ve also already started construction on a three-story set of buildings to house 1,700 workers on that site.
Those workers will be there working for two or three years.
“In the past we were worried there’d be a worker shortage,they’d be having to bring in temporary foreign workers. Instead it looks like basically every out-of-work construction worker in Western Canada is flocking to Site C to look for a job.”
So that means when election time rolls around next year, the Liberal government can deflect criticism about the LNG project delays, and point to Site C.
“You look at it from the NDP point of view…one of the reasons they lost the last election was because they were seen as being the anti-jobs party for people in the interior, construction workers and all that.”
Despite the arguments that we don’t need Site C, says Palmer, from a political point of view this project has so much momentum behind it that it will be difficult to stop.
“I think we’re going to have a great big bloody hydroelectric dam on the Peace River, unless something REALLY unexpected happens.”