A guest post by Renee Krysko, Yellowstone to Yukon
Rural Impact. Urban Voters. Bridging the Gap.
Stop Site C Campaign
Twice the size of California, British Columbia is a sizable Canadian province. And in a province where more than half the population resides in greater Vancouver and Victoria in the south, it's easy for northern, more rural issues to go unnoticed.
Perhaps that was what BC Hydro was banking on when it re-activated an old proposal to build a third hydro-electric dam, called Site C, on the Peace River some 600 miles (1,000 km) away from these urban centers. (Click for more information)
So far removed from Vancouver or Victoria, there was no public outcry when the dam was proposed. Few people understood that the $8 billion dollar project would skyrocket their electric bills, and that the dam would result in the destruction of some of B.C.'s best agricultural land, pose a serious threat to wildlife mobility at the narrowest point in the Yellowstone to Yukon corridor and alter a way of life for many native communities.
Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative (Y2Y), however, helped bridge the gap.
With the support of Conservation Alliance, we launched a media campaign focused on broadening awareness of the dam and its impacts on everyday people - including those living in urban centres. Local, provincial and national media covered the intense unfolding of the environmental assessment public hearings in December 2013 and January 2013, including the breadth of opposition to the dam and a science report on the dam's impact on wildlife that Y2Y commissioned.
We've captured some of the media highlights below. To read the full article, please click on the article title:
Site C panel chairman exasperated by mountains of BC Hydro documents
Harry Swain said panel members said, "I can't stand it. I've read more material here than you could believe," he said. "The EIS (environmental impact statement) and its supporting documents are many times longer than the Bible. And the plot is not as good, nor is the language."
David Suzuki Foundation argues Site C would cause "irrevocable ecological harm"
...the report confirms that the cumulative effects on the region where the Site C dam would be located are "significant" and "unprecedented" in Canada, and going ahead the project would only worsen them.
Peace is priceless, Site C hearing told
Doig Councillor Kelvin Davis said he took his grandson out on his first moose hunt a week ago..."We prepared it, skinned it, but when we opened up the cavity, this moose was unhealthy," said Davis. "It had cysts on its lungs, on its liver. It broke my heart for my grandson to shoot his first moose, and have to leave everything."
Cumulative effects of development like Site C could be detrimental to some wildlife
Wildlife biologist Dr. Clayton Apps has concluded that some wildlife population in the Peace Region may not be viable or recoverable in the future due to the cumulative effects of resource development, including the Site C dam.
News update - Food security and energy security at issue at Site C hearings
"If BC Hydro's dam on Site C gets built, precious alluvial soils in a class one climate capable of producing fresh vegetables for over one million British Columbians in perpetuity will be destroyed forever," says agrologist Wendy Holm.
According to the BC Hydro Site C website, however, the dam will produce enough clean energy to power 450,000 homes per year in B.C.
Photo at Top: Larry Peterson
Photo at Left: Sarah Cox