A draft agreement has been developed by the federal and provincial governments for a harmonized environmental review of the Site C dam project on the Peace River.
The draft agreement includes a joint review panel process and initiates the environmental assessment.
“We are pleased that the Site C project has been referred to a joint review panel, and we look forward to commencing what will be a rigorous and independent process,” said Dave Cobb, CEO of BC Hydro.
“The environmental assessment for Site C will provide multiple opportunities for consultation and input by the public, communities, Aboriginal groups, and stakeholders.”
As part of the environmental assessment BC Hydro will identify and assess potential project effects – environmental, economic, social, heritage and health – and opportunities to provide benefits for the region and First Nations.
Where effects cannot be avoided, BC Hydro has to identify and evaluate options for mitigation.
The Site C project requires environmental certification and other regulatory permits and approvals before it can proceed to construction.
In addition, the Crown has a duty to consult and, where appropriate, accommodate aboriginal groups.
BC Hydro forecasts that electricity demand in the province will increase by approximately 40 per cent in the next 20 years.
Site C would produce about 5,100 gigawatt hours of electricity each year, enough energy to power more than 450,000 homes per year in B.C.