British Columbia

New Site C contract moves forward as opponents call for auditor general review

BC Hydro is set to sign a major contract on Site C, the first since the B.C. NDP opted to allow construction of the controversial megadam to continue last week.

NDP government said while it wouldn't have started the project, it will finish it

Bob Peever of BC Hydro gives a tour of the Site C Dam location near Fort St. John in April, 2017. The dam's completion would flood 5,500 hectares of the Peace River Valley and provide energy to power the equivalent of around 500,000 homes. (Jonathon Hayward/Canadian Press)

BC Hydro is set to sign a major contract on Site C, the first since the B.C. NDP opted last week to allow construction of the controversial dam to continue.

The announcement comes as opponents of the dam in northeast B.C. are asking the province's auditor general to review the decision to move forward with the project.

A partnership led by Toronto-based Aecon Group Inc. has been chosen as the preferred proponent to build a generating station and spillways for the dam, which will flood 5,500 hectares of the Peace River valley near Fort St. John, B.C.

BC Hydro said in a news release it expects to sign a final agreement in early 2018 and peak work on the project will occur in 2021, when approximately 1,600 jobs will be generated.

Meanwhile, opponents of the project have asked Auditor General Carol Bellringer to review the NDP's decision to move ahead with Site C, citing concerns over how the costs of cancelling the project were calculated.

In announcing his decision to move ahead with Site C construction, Premier John Horgan said while he would not have started the project, construction is far enough along that the cost of cancelling would be too high. 

The province's independent energy regulator concluded in a report last month that the dam is over budget and behind schedule.

With files from the Canadian Press

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