British Columbia

Site C dam puts Peace River Valley on Canada's top 10 endangered places list

Peace River Valley has made Heritage Canada The National Trust's 2015 list of top 10 endangered places in Canada because of the pending Site C mega-dam project.

Point Grey Secondary School is the only other B.C. site on the list

Peace River Valley has been designated one of the top 10 endangered places in Canada by Heritage Canada The National Trust. (Robin Bodnaruk)

B.C.'s Peace River Valley has made Heritage Canada The National Trust's 2015 list of top 10 endangered places in Canada because of the pending Site C mega-dam project.

"This landscape has such a long history, over 10,000 years of human occupation, an important prehistoric travel route and trade route," said Natalie Bull, executive director of Heritage Canada.

"There is evidence of human occupation and movement through the valley that predates the pyramids so it really does have a very long history."

Heritage Canada is a non-profit organization that advocates the preservation of historical buildings, landscapes and communities.

Bull says if Site C is approved, it could have a detrimental impact on the landscape both naturally and culturally.

"There are all of these layers of patterns of use on this landscape that are at risk, not to mention 20 at-risk species."

'Powerful factors at play'

Site C is a proposed hydroelectric project to be built by BC Hydro along the Peace River. The mega project would see more than 5,500 hectares of land along the Peace River flooded to create a reservoir 83 kilometres long.

"This listing helps bring national attention to these kinds of challenges and we hope will help bolster the local people and organizations that are trying to protect places locally and nationally," said Bull.

There are currently seven legal challenges around the Site C project being raised against the provincial and federal governments.

"Often we are fighting against governments, investment, development. There are so many powerful factors at play. It can be very difficult for groups to mount these battles," said Bull.

2015 Top 10 Endangered Places in Canada

  • Point Grey Secondary School - Vancouver
  • Peace River Valley - Northeast B.C.
  • Truss Bridge, Atlas Coal Mine - East Coulee, Alta.
  • Our Lady of Assumption Church - Windsor, Ont.
  • The Barber Paper Mill - Georgetown, Ont.
  • Central Experimental Farm - Ottawa
  • Hôpital de la Miséricorde - Montreal
  • The Quebec Bridge, St. Lawrence River - Quebec and Lévis, Que.
  • Sackville United Church - Sackville, N.B.
  • Belcourt Spirituality Centre -  Rustico, P.E.I.

Source: Heritage Canada

To hear the full interview with Natalie Bull, listen to the audio labelled Peace River Valley now endangered.


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