I was recently up in the Peace River Valley with 47 others on the Rolling Justice Bus. The five-day trip was planned by the regional branch of KAIROS, a national ecumenical justice organization, in order for us to see for ourselves what the building of B.C. Hydro’s Site C dam would look like.
The main event was the Paddle for the Peace, when 200-plus canoes and kayaks paddled with the current down the Peace River for a couple of hours.
We were first of all given a tour of the mammoth W.A.C. Bennett Dam that was built in the l960s, creating a vast reservoir behind it. There is also the smaller Peace Dam.
We were told that B.C. Hydro has always planned to build Site C sometime in the future. Is it needed? I came home absolutely convinced that BC Hydro must not go ahead and build this unnecessary dam for three specific reasons.
The Peace River Valley has a micro-climate that enables farmers to grow heat-loving crops such as tomatoes, peppers and melons, as well as the usual market garden vegetables. It is estimated that enough food can be grown each year to feed one million people. Should the dam be built, 31,000 acres of this prime farmland would be flooded.
At present Treaty 8 First Nations can hunt, fish and engage in their cultural activities that connect them with their land. Should be dam be built, 107 kilometres of the Peace River and its tributaries would be flooded, the fish contaminated and hundreds of graves and ceremonial sites obliterated.
We just do not need this electrical power. Demand for power has been falling since 2008. A recent investigation by DeSmog Canada has revealed that BC Hydro is paying independent power producers not to produce electricity because of the oversupply. Should the dam be built, BC Hydro would sell the power to Alberta for fracking natural gas, and also to the U.S.
It will cost B.C. taxpayers $8.8 billion (or more) to build this unnecessary dam, and I would suggest that this vast sum of money could be used to develop both wind and solar power, and also geothermal. There is also technology now to develop tidal power.
We do not need Site C dam.
Daphne M. Taylor
A member of Victoria Raging Grannies