Press & Publications

25 September 2020

2020-2021 Media Coverage of Site C

Media stories on the Site C dam, 2020

Most recent first:

Peace Valley Landowner Association reacts to Site C decision
John Flatters, Energetic City News, March 2, 2021

Reaction to the B.C. government’s approval of the Site C Dam project – Interview with North Peace MLA Dan Davies, followed by Ken Boon
CBC Daybreak North, March 2, 2021

View From Victoria: Its Horgan’s Site C dam now!
Simi Sara, March 2, 2021

New Raeside Cartoon
March 2, 2021

Site C Now Most Expensive Dam in Canadian History – Cancellation Cost is Trumped Up – new report by international energy expert Robert McCullough & call for proper BCUC oversight
Peace Valley Landowners Assn, March 1, 2021

The more things change, the more they stay the same: BC NDP government approves continuation of Site C – BC’s biggest boondoggle – for the second time.
Laila Yuile, March 1, 2021

Pharaoh Horgan and His $16-Billion Monument to Folly – In commanding that Site C must rise, he worships the ‘sunk cost fallacy’.
Andrew Nikiforuk, The Tyee, March 1, 2021

Say good-bye to another river killed by industry and politics
Gerry Warner, op-ed, East Kootenay News Online Weekly, February 28, 2021

Site C stumbles and NDP’s resentful indifference
Les Leyne, Times Colonist, February 27, 2021

Horgan to blame for Hydro’s Site C oversight failures – B.C. Hydro repeatedly ignored advice from project oversight appointees or delayed informing them of problems
Vaughn Palmer, Vancouver Sun, February 27, 2021

The most expensive dam in Canadian history: cost of B.C.’s Site C dam balloons to $16 billion – Premier John Horgan defends decision to push ahead with beleaguered BC Hydro project, which has nearly doubled in cost under NDP government as a result of escalating safety issues
Sarah Cox, The Narwhal, February 26, 2021

B.C. government had 10 billion reasons not to cancel Site C dam project [that’s the sunk cost fallacy, Globe and Mail]
Gary Mason, Globe and Mail, February 26, 2021

The slippery slope of Site C – Cascading and compounding mistakes may be leading BC to an $8-billion loss.
Harry Swain, Focus on Victoria, January 29, 2021

First Nation leader calls for release of Site C report in open letter to B.C. Premier
Globe and Mail, January 25, 2021

Vaughn Palmer: First Nation says Site C safety problems adds urgency to its anti-dam court battle
Opinion: Information revealed to First Nation during court battle suggests B.C. Hydro is far from solving stability issues with its dam.
Vaughn Palmer, Vancouver Sun, January 25, 2021

Site C worker dies from COVID-19
Alaska Highway News, January 25, 2021

‘Nothing should be kept secret’: B.C. First Nation asks court to order release of Site C dam safety documents – Site C construction continues at an estimated cost of $3 million a day amid growing concerns about the stability of the dam and secrecy from BC Hydro and the B.C. government, which is withholding a recent status report on the over-budget project from the public
Sarah Cox, The Narwhal, January 25, 2021

First Nation calls for release of Site C report in open letter to premier – Chief Roland Willson says BC Hydro has withheld its two latest progress reports from regulators and the premier has refused to release a report prepared by special advisor Peter Milburn.
Amy Smart, Vancouver Sun, January 25, 2021

Site C looks more and more like a mega project doomed to fail
CFJC Today, Kamloops, January 19, 2021

Furstenau doubles down on pre-election charges of Site C ‘coverup’ – “Government has known about these issues for well over a year. Why did the B.C. NDP not appoint experts with the capacity to answer these questions from the beginning?” — Green leader Sonia Furstenau
Vaughn Palmer, Vancouver Sun, January 16, 2021

Dam experts hired to determine if Site C can be completed safely – If the outside experts won’t sign off on the proposed fix, the government would appear to have no choice but to cancel the dam and damn the financial consequences
Vaughn Palmer, Vancouver Sun, January 15, 2021

‘Immediately suspend all site C work’: West Moberly First Nations
Energetic City News, January 15, 2021

The Peace River Regional District says there are “very serious concerns” with a BC Hydro plan that could see hundreds of trucks per day hauling rock materials down to Site C.
Alaska Highway News, January 15, 2021

Horgan announces two new expert reviews amid mounting Site C dam safety concerns – In the first public update on the troubled Site C dam since last July, B.C. Premier John Horgan’s surprise announcement about a proposed fix to geotechnical problems raised yet more questions about the viability of the over-budget project
Sarah Cox, The Narwhal, January 14, 2021

BC Hydro granted $171 million in no-bid Site C dam contracts as project troubles were kept secret from public – Documents obtained by The Narwhal show BC Hydro’s former chief engineer and SNC Lavalin are among the recipients of lucrative and previously undisclosed direct-award contracts, fuelling calls for a public inquiry into the behind-schedule and over-budget hydro project
Sarah Cox, The Narwhal, January 13, 2021

B.C. Health Officer Bonnie Henry Permits Workers to Return to Controversial Dam Project
The Energy Mix, January 13, 2021

Speaking for the National Farmers Union (NFU), Women’s President and Peace Region farmer Bess Legault has written to BC Agriculture Minister Hon. Lana Popham asking her to stand with farmers in opposing the Site C Dam project.
January 12, 2021

Horgan in a year-end interview on COVID-19 Recovery, Old Growth, Site C and Reconciliation: “I suspect it will be late January, February, before we have a clear idea of what the status of that project is.”
Andrew Macleod, The Tyee, December 27, 2020

Closer to home, I predict a whole scuttle full of coal for the executive leadership of BC Hydro who insist on proceeding with Site C in spite of project cost overruns of many billions and inadequate demand for the additional power the project will produce.
David Bond, Kelowna Courier, December 22, 2020

A new government report and announcement on the Site C Dam is expected any day now. We need to use the opportunity to demand elected representatives take action to cancel this disastrous mega-project once and for all!

Windfarms in Great Britain break record for clean power generation
Jillian Ambrose, The Guardian, December 19, 2020

Horgan expects the Milburn findings will be in the hands of Energy Minister Bruce Ralston by early next week. It will then be reviewed by Cabinet and the treasury board, before being released to the public.
With almost $6 billion spent and doubts mounting about the stability of the Site C foundations, the next decision will be as tough, maybe tougher, than the one the New Democrats faced in 2017.
Vaughn Palmer, Vancouver Sun, December 19, 2020

Ottawa defers $844M in Muskrat Falls payments, almost all due by end of year
Stephanie Tobin, CBC News, December 17, 2020

Why Site C Construction Should Stop Today – The BC government has failed in its oversight role, say a former BC Hydro CEO and a veteran dam engineer.
Marc Eliesen & Dan Farquharson, The Tyee, December 17, 2020

How much money are we wasting on the Site C dam?
Enough to build TEN TIMES as much solar power.
Dogwood, December 17, 2020

“This is really starting to look like a cover-up,” said Furstenau.
Les Leyne, Powell River Peak, December 16, 2017

Site C: While British Columbia has policies to discourage additions of solar power to the provincial power grid, Germany has been moving forward on this form of renewable electricity.
Norm Farrell, In-Sights, December 15, 2020

There is huge potential in Canada to harness geothermal heat. So why are there only a handful of projects breaking ground? In this episode, CBC is taking a look at the promise of renewable geothermal power and the barriers to getting there.
Alexander Richter, Think GeoEnergy, December 14, 2020

Peter Milburn’s appointment is an exercise that appears to serve as political cover for this government to avoid answering questions for anything else.
Adam Olsen (Greens) to Bruce Ralston (NDP Energy Minister), BC Legislature Question Period, December 14, 2020, starts 2:05

Question Period December 14th 2020 – Site C – No Transparency

Vaughn Palmer: Site C cash burn continues as Horgan awaits review to decide project’s fate. The premier is still saying as little as possible while awaiting the Peter Milburn report. Asked recently if he had made up his mind whether the project goes ahead, Horgan said “no, not at all”
Vaughn Palmer, Vancouver Sun, December 9, 2020

Members of Lac Seul First Nation are heading to the Supreme Court of Canada today to challenge the Federal Court over a historic flooding compensation case.
In the late 1920s, construction of the Ear Falls hydroelectric dam in Treaty #3 flooded nearly 20 per cent of Lac Seul’s reserve land without the First Nation’s consent, without a surrender or expropriation of the land, and without compensation.
CBC News, December 8, 2020

Brett Dolter (University of Regina), G. Kent Fellows (University of Calgary), and Nic Rivers (University of Ottawa) used levelized costs and net present value measurers to compare the value of power from Site C and concluded that, given the likely cost overruns of the dam project, it would be more economic in the long-run to cancel it now.
Nelson Bennett, Business in Vancouver/Alaska Highway News, December 8, 2020

LNG Canada workers complained about unsafe conditions prior to COVID outbreak
Matt Simmons, Prince George Citizen, December 5, 2020

The first case of COVID-19 at Site C was in July and there have been 17 cases to date. On Dec. 4, BC Hydro reported five active cases and 18 people in self-isolation.

Cree/Dene Singer/Songwriter Art Napolean shares his personal connection to the territory most impacted by Site C
Stories from the land, December 2020

A new report from International Rivers and Rivers without Boundaries charts an alternative course for post-pandemic energy development than the revitalization of a failing hydropower industry
December 2020

Former CEO, President of BC Hydro and Peace Valley Landowners Association want a halt to construction at Site C
Laura Briggs, Energetic City News, December 1, 2020

“Milburn will likely only give us an introduction to what the real problems are,” experienced B.C. dam engineer Ken Farquharson said. “Given the geotechnical problems at the site and the billions of dollars at stake, all work at Site C should cease until a full, independent review by engineers and geoscientists with no connections to BC Hydro is done. And I’m not alone in thinking that.”
Ben Parfitt, Policy Note, December 1, 2020

“Electoral Area B Director Karen Goodings brought forward a recommendation asking the Peace River Regional District Board to send a letter to Premier John Horgan regarding the Site C Project’s Peter Milburn Investigation.”
Scott Brooks, Energetic City News, November 27, 2020

Former BC Hydro CEO Marc Eliesen did not mince words when asked about the future of the Site C dam. “To continue is totally reckless. If [Horgan] continues, this will be his folly,” he said. “Calamitous events can be avoided if it comes to a halt now.”
Josie Kau, The Narwhal, November 27, 2020

The upsides of shutting down Site C
International experts say the oversight on this train wreck is the weakest they’ve ever seen. Reporters have had to appeal to the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner to force the Crown corporation to release information. What little we have seen is shocking.
Dogwood, November 27, 2020

We, the undersigned, urge you to recognize the critical importance of protecting rivers to a just and green recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Rivers For Recovery, November 2020

British Columbia taxpayers are hanging onto their wallets, anticipating a critical report on an over-budget megaproject that could turn into the province’s biggest-ever boondoggle.
The Site C dam, currently under construction on the mighty Peace River, has already seen its price tag soar through the stratosphere.
Mike Smyth, Global News, November 26, 2020

Why We Need To. How We Can.
November 25, 2020

Then there is the thorny issue of the future of the mammoth Site C dam project. Its future remains unclear as costs mount and serious questions about geological safety remain unanswered.
Keith Baldrey, Burnaby Now, November 23, 2020

Horgan Seems Fine with Muzzling the True Site C Watchdog
Paul Willcocks, The Tyee, November 23, 2020

“Ken Wu said he and others have been asking the NDP government for three and a half years to set up an old-growth land acquisition fund starting at $40 million a year. “Here’s a province that looks like it’s willing to spend $15 billion on the Site C dam with endless runaway escalating costs,” Wu says. “They can’t even find $40 million?”
Sarah Cox, The Narwhal, November 21, 2020

BC Hydro’s Site C dam project on shaky ground
“Mr. Horgan’s second term as Premier begins as his first did, once again weighing the future of the Site C dam. The difference is that this time it is his project.”
Justine Hunter, Globe and Mail, November 21, 2020

Horgan, B.C. Hydro continue to duck Site C questions – Horgan’s ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ approach to the hydro dam’s serious problems was designed to avoid the issue during the election campaign
Vaughn Palmer, Vancouver Sun, November 18, 2020

In addition to delaying their response to the BCUC on Site C, Hydro is also asking to delay their next quarterly report on the project.
Scott Brooks, Energetic City News, November 12, 2020

Global solar and wind capacity is on track to double over the next five years and outstrip both coal and gas, after continuing to surge in spite of the economic crisis brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, the International Energy Agency (IEA) reports in its annual renewable energy update issued this week.
The Energy Mix, November 11, 2020

BBC: The largest dam-removal in US history: Removal of 4 dams to save salmon
Alexander Matthews, BBC, Nov 10, 2020

Honey, we need to talk about Site C
Kai Nagata, Dogwood, November 10, 2020
YES, I call on the B.C. government to cancel the Site C dam – and save us billions of dollars on our Hydro bills.

Meanwhile in Manitoba, another hydro utility facing dam overruns: State of erosion: the legacy of Manitoba Hydro
Aaron Vincent Elkain, The Narwhal, November 7, 2020

David Suzuki: If we’re taking climate change seriously, the Peace River Valley should not be flooded because it should be the breadbasket of the north. We’ve got to change our food system. We can’t be importing it all from 5,000 miles away. We’ve got to grow our own food up there.
Raina Delisle, The Narwhal, November 6, 2020

New York needs to consider why, in 2020 — with all we now know about climate change and indigenous rights — it would support the destruction of huge swaths of virgin forest in Canada … and critical Atlantic sturgeon habitat for a project that wouldn’t offer a genuine green solution to its energy needs.
Jared Margolis, Times Union, November 5, 2020

A provincial regulator has filed a list of 75, often sharply-worded questions with BC Hydro, aiming to get to the bottom of the stability risks the utility is now reporting with its multi-billion-dollar Site C hydropower project.
The Energy Mix, November 3, 2020

A fourth wind project, Thunder Mountain, would add nine additional towers in the area, but is on hold until BC Hydro’s next Clean Power Call — which is unlikely as long as construction continues on Site C
Amanda Follett Hosgood, The Tyee, November 3, 2020

..This power-grab election should never have been called in the first place. We’re in the middle of a pandemic, not to mention a looming climate crisis — speaking of which, are we crazy or does the NDP really want to go ahead with Site C?
Kate Sheardown & Lilah Williamson, The Tyee, November 2, 2020

University of Manitoba Native Studies Professor Peter Kulchyski has long studied the effects of Hydro projects on Indigenous people in Manitoba. He also helped found Wa Ni Ska Tan, an alliance led by Indigenous people from Hydro impacted communities that unites them with sympathetic academics and researchers such as Kulchyski.
Christopher Read, APTN, October 30, 2020

Fifteen years ago, BC Hydro didn’t resort to accounting trickery to claim profitable operations.
Norm Farrell, In-sights, October 30, 2020

When did BC Hydro really know about Site C dam stability issues? Utilities watchdog wants to know
Sarah Cox, The Narwhal, October 30, 2020

Suspect timing for latest update on problematic holes at Site C
Vaughn Palmer, Vancouver Sun, October 30, 2020

the vast majority of the NDP’s gains appear to be in ridings with the fewest Indigenous residents.That might have something to do with the government’s approval of the controversial Site C hydroelectric dam, or the premier’s handling of Wet’suwet’en opposition to the Coastal GasLink pipeline.
Nick Taylor-Vaisey, Maclean’s, October 29, 2020

I’m cautiously optimistic that Premier John Horgan will finally say an unequivocal “no” to the Site C Dam.
Tim Louis, Georgia Straight, October 29, 2020

Now all we have to do is convince the Turkey he owns Site C, not the Liberals who started it, and he damn well better pull the plug on it before he bankrupts the province.
G.D. Maxwell, Pique Newsmagazine, October 29, 2020

I was wrong about the Site C dam
David Charbonneau, CJSF, October 29, 2020

Clean energy portfolios are cost competitive with conventional portfolios, even when environmental externalities are not valued and quantified
Conservation Council of New Brunswick, October 2020

Site C, Speculation, and Agritech, Oh My!
Harold Steves, Watershed Sentinel, October 28, 2020

The tide has shifted on dams. Once a monument to our engineering prowess, there’s now widespread acknowledgment that dam-building comes with a long list of harms. Some of those can be reversed, as shown by the 1,200 dam removals in the past 20 years.
Tara Lohan, Center for Biological Diversity, October 28, 2020

For me, Site C is just one failure of the BC NDP
Norm Farrell, In-sights, October 27, 2020

The bill seems likely to climb even higher, unless the project is abandoned. Milburn is expected to deliver his report in late November or early December.
Randy Shore, Vancouver Sun, October 27, 2020

This photo is of a 750 pound eagles’ nest that was destroyed last week to make way for the Site C dam.

Horgan managed to push the Site C fiasco off until after the election, but a decision will have to be made soon on the over-budget, problem-plagued project
Paul Willcocks, The Tyee, October 25, 2020

John Horgan’s bet pays off: Five takeaways from the B.C. election. With Horgan accused of covering up the extent of Site C’s problems, communicating its fate will be his first big test in round two of his premiership
Marie-Danielle Smith, Maclean’s, October 25, 2020

The time to pause
Harry Swain, letter to Alaska Highway News, October 24, 2020

BCUC staff questions on Site C Annual Progress Report No. 4 and Quarterly Progress Report No. 19
Letter dated October 23, 2020

‘It’s about who knew what and when’: reporter Sarah Cox on her Site C dam investigation
Arik Ligeti, The Narwhal, October 23, 2020

Here’s where to find every wind turbine in Canada – one in BC will produce power comparable to Site C
Carl Meyer, National Observer, October 23, 2020

Vaughn Palmer, opinion: Horgan drops hints about Site C, but coverup continues. B.C. Hydro and the government have been stalling on revealing extent of problems that threaten the Site C megaproject
Vancouver Sun, October 23, 2020

Last week, the museum opened a new exhibition called Stories Beneath the Surface, aimed at telling the stories of the communities forced to leave their homes when the valley was flooded in the 1960s with the creation of the Hugh Keenleyside Dam.
Joel Ballard, CBC News, October 23, 2020

Why some environmentalists are turning off British Columbia’s NDP government
Bob Hackett, Rabble, October 22, 2020

Top B.C. government officials knew Site C dam was in serious trouble over a year ago: FOI docs
Sarah Cox, The Narwhal, October 21, 2020

C.’s Site C dam project is a disaster in the making
Gary Mason, Globe and Mail, October 20, 2020
(paywalled, so reprinted on this site)

Many other countries are in the same boat. Across Europe and North America “big dams stopped being built in developed nations because the best sites for dams were already developed, and environmental and social concerns made the costs unacceptable,” found a 2018 study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Canada appears to be the exception to that.

B.C.’s Site C dam project is a disaster in the making
Gary Mason, Globe and Mail, October 20, 2020
(paywalled, so reprinted on this site)

The unnecessary Site C dam is shaping up as B.C.’s Muskrat Falls
Konrad Yakabuski, Globe and Mail, October 20, 2020
(paywalled, so reprinted on this site)

Scrapping B.C.’s Site C dam could lead to $116 million in savings every year: energy economist
Serious geotechnical issues and the project’s escalating cost make the dam uneconomical, according to two new reports that call for the newly elected government to cancel it immediately
Sarah Cox, The Narwhal, October 15, 2020

Only when Horgan is safely in office will public get straight goods about Site C
Opinion: New Democrats show every intention of getting through election without addressing any of legitimate concerns raised by Site C opponents.
Vaughn Palmer, Vancouver Sun, October 14, 2020

Canada’s Sinking Site C Megadam
Webinar by North American Megadam Resistance Alliance
with journalist Sarah Cox, Candace Batycki of Y2Y, & energy pundit Norm Farrell.
October 14, 2020

Like the dinosaurs of old, the Site C white elephant is mired in prehistoric mud.
Opinion: The land to be flooded by the Site C Dam could, if planted to horticulture crops, meet the nutritional needs of over one million people a year, in perpetuity.
Wendy Holm, The Province, October 11, 2020

Losing sight at Site C
Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
Ben Parfitt, Policy Note, October 8, 2020

BC Hydro Bets on Interest Rates — and Loses $1 Billion
A hedging program was supposed to protect the corporation from rising rates. Instead, it’s creating major liabilities.
Andrew Nikiforuk, The Tyee, October 7, 2020

Horgan dives for cover on Site C woes
The problems and costs of the Site C hydroelectric project are getting worse. Don’t expect the NDP or Liberals to talk about it during the election
Vaughn Palmer, Vancouver Sun, September 29, 2020

The Site C Mess: Notes for the Investigator
Peter Milburn is the latest to learn how megaprojects breed megamistakes.
Andrew Nikiforuk, The Tyee, September 23, 2020

BC Hydro Lies Cost BC Citizens Billions
To gain public support for massive spending, BC Hydro is untruthful. To avoid taking responsibility for bad public policy, the Horgan Government pretends not to notice.
Norm Farrell, In-sights, September 22, 2020

Opinion: NDP ducking questions on Site C woes
NDP ministers use appointment of a troubleshooter to refuse to answers questions about the troubled Site C dam.
Vaughn Palmer, Vancouver Sun, September 15, 2020

Site C’s Radical, Risky Makeover
BC Hydro says it has just discovered new, costly problems for the megaproject. In fact, engineers have known about them for decades.
Ben Parfitt, The Tyee, September 11, 2020

“I believed that the NDP was serious about stopping the Site C dam”
“I should have realized that the desires of private-sector unions for a costly megaproject would trump sound public policy, even in an age of distributed, zero-marginal-cost renewable energy generation.”
Charlie Smith, Georgia Straight, September 10, 2020

Opinion: Site C instability issues making NDP nervous about escalating costs
Hydro has admitted that the foundation enhancement costs are expected to be much higher than initially expected.
Vaughn Palmer, Vancouver Sun, September 3, 2020

Site C is Sinking into Old Mud
Open letter by Arthur Hadland, a former director of the Peace Valley Regional District, September 2, 2020

It’s Horgan’s Folly. But We’ll All Pay
The Site C dam already faced big delays and cost overruns. Now we should be worried about threats to public safety.
Andrew Nikiforuk, The Tyee, August 24, 2020

Can government finally make the right decision about Site C?
Opinion: At this point, it’s unclear how much it will cost to finish the Site C dam, or even whether that is possible.
Op-ed by retired engineer Ken Farquharson, Vancouver Sun, August 17, 2020

The Site C dam has become an albatross and a serious objective review is needed urgently
by Mike Harcourt, Harry Swain and Mauro Chiesa, Globe and Mail op-ed, August 22, 2020

The Site C Dam is Now Priceless
The famous and illusive financial “point of no return” is still somewhere in the murky future, and the prudent action for this government is to scrap it now.
Ken Boon, Alaska Highway News, August 20, 2020

‘Stop the Losses’: Former BC Hydro CEO Calls for Cancellation of Site C Dam
Sarah Cox, The Narwhal, August 17, 2020

B.C.’s Site C has become a cash bonfire. Hard decisions are ahead
Globe and Mail editorial, August 16, 2020

A Big Fracking Mess
As Site C dam construction bogs down in geotechnical problems, thousands of earthquakes triggered by fracking operations occur nearby.
Ben Parfitt, CCPA Policy Note, August 12, 2020

Site C dam has a huge problem — and it’s not COVID-19
A major geological problem could mean expensive additional foundation work for the dam and powerhouse at the Site C project.
Vaughn Palmer, Vancouver Sun, August 1, 2020

Don’t blame COVID-19 for new Site C dam cost overruns and delays, energy experts say
BC Hydro has classified the health of the most expensive public project in B.C. history as ‘red,’ blaming the pandemic for Site C’s deepening woes, but significant problems had emerged well before the virus.
Sarah Cox, The Narwhal, July 31, 2020

BC Hydro’s Site C dam report months overdue, fuelling concerns about more cost overruns
The Site C dam was declared an ‘essential service’ during the COVID-19 pandemic, allowing construction to continue, but now the B.C. government says the coronavirus is responsible for a long-delayed report — in a move critics call ‘specious.’
Sarah Cox, The Narwhal, July 8, 2020

From earlier in 2020
The shift to electric vehicles and other low-carbon technologies could disrupt crude oil demand on a similar scale to the coronavirus pandemic