Whitehorse surveying firm Underhill Geomatics has won a contract on the massive Site C hydroelectric dam project on B.C.'s Peace River.

The company will provide surveying and drafting services as the site is prepared and construction begins. The initial contract is for 5 months, with an option to extend.

"Yeah, it's a big deal," said Carl Friesen, Underhill's vice president. "It's one of the biggest projects in North America right now, so we are very happy to be involved."

Construction on the dam near Fort St. John is expected to take 9 years, and cost about $8.3 billion. Work is already underway to build a camp for 1,600 workers.

Friesen says his Yukon office will manage and staff the job, but it's too early to tell how many Underhill workers will be required.

Carl Friesen

'It's one of the biggest projects in North America right now, so we are very happy to be involved,' said Carl Friesen, vice president of Underhill Geomatics. (CBC)

"All our offices will be involved," he said. "This is a big enough project we don't know the full extent of the resources we'll have to send down there."

The project has been controversial, because it will flood more than 5,500 hectares of farmland in the Peace River Valley. B.C. construction unions are also concerned that too many jobs will go to workers from outside the province. 

Last month, BC Hydro chose consortium Peace River Hydro Partners as its preferred partner in a $1.5-billion dollar contract to construct the dam, the largest single contract for the project.


  • An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated the Site C dam project would flood more than 20,000 hectares of land. BC Hydro's environmental impact statement says it would flood 5,550 hectares.
    Dec 09, 2015 12:44 PM CT