The Site C dam should be delayed so more time can be spent studying its potential socio-economic cost and impact.
Harry Swain was the chair of the federal-provincial panel that studied the Site C mega project.
He says there’s still much information we don’t know.
Swain says the British Columbia Utilities Commission has the expertise to closely look at capital costs estimates, and was set up by the government to do such studies, but the BCUC declined to do so, leaving it to BC Hydro.
He says the capital cost estimates for the project, which has already risen, would be reflected in the rates end users pay, which is estimated to go up as much as 30%.
BC Hydro has already raised cost estimates by $900 million from the original $7.9 billion.
But he says there isn’t enough information regarding how higher rates will affect demand, because BC Hydro rates have been so low for many years, there isn’t enough data.
In regards to First Nation’s rights, he says it’s a complicated situation that was beyond the scope and expertise of the panel.
He says while Site C is technically brilliant and will eventually provide relatively green power, at a low price, the question is whether the project is needed based on the time line provided by BC Hydro.