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Site C hearings begin in Fort St. John today

Site C.jpg
An artist's rendering shows how the Peace River's Site C dam would appear after completion. (BC Hydro)

Public hearings begin in Fort St. John today for a controversial hydroelectric project. For forty years, the Site C Dam has divided those who say the province needs the extra power, and those who say the environmental cost is too high. 

For decades, the Province and BC Hydro have been making the case for a third dam on the Peace River. Site C would generate 11 hundred megawatts of energy, enough to power almost half a million homes.

Listen: Matthew Evenden is a professor of geography at UBC who has written about Site C. He tells Betsy Trumpener the project is not "inevitable" and it is important for both sides to treat it as an open question.

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Pat Pimm is the Liberal M-L-A for Peace River North. He says the dam's power is needed to meet demands from BC's growing population, and economy. 

 "We've got a very active mining sector, we've got some LNG projects that hopefully are going to be able to move forward as well, and you know I think all in all it's a vision, not that much different than the vision that WAC Bennet had way back when we built the first dam." 

While the Province increases capacity, some say the losses for the Peace Region are huge. The dam would flood 85 kilometers of river valley, destroying First Nations sites, a highway, and the homes of farmers like Ken Boon. 

Boon has fought Site C for decades. He hopes this environmental assessment will be the last, and the project will be permanently shelved.

"Yeah, it's frustrating, actually. You know, In this day and age to still have to be fighting a dam." 

Public hearings start today in Fort St. John at the Pomeroy Hotel, and continue until late January.

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