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LETTER: ICBA’s Chris Gardner Requests Standing in BCUC Site C Review

The following letter was sent by ICBA President Chris Gardner to the B.C. Utilities Commission today.

David Morton
Chair and CEO
British Columbia Utilities Commission (BCUC)
900 Howe Street
Vancouver, BC V6Z 2S9

June 16, 2017

Re:  BCUC Review of the Site C Hydro Electric Dam Project

Dear Mr. Morton:

We write on behalf of the more than 2,000 member companies and clients of ICBA in the construction and responsible resource development industries, including the thousands of men and women who woke up today and went to work to build the Site C Dam.

In the June 16, 2017, edition of The Globe and Mail, you stated that the BCUC is “ready and able” to review the Site C Dam project if such a request were to be made by a new NDP-Green provincial government.

We strongly object to such a review given that construction work is approximately twenty percent complete, that the Site C project was reviewed and approved by the provincial government, reviewed and approved by the federal government, and that the review process has been sustained in nine decisions by the BC Supreme Court, the BC Court of Appeal and the Federal Court of Canada.

Moreover, the review’s terms of reference, laid out in the NDP-Green coalition agreement, states that Site C will be referred to the BCUC “on the question of economic viability and consequences to British Columbians in the context of the current [emphasis added] supply and demand conditions prevailing in the BC market.” As you are well aware, the decision to invest $9 billion to build Site C was based on the future energy needs and climate change goals of our province.

In addition, the short timeline – six weeks – is another sign of how politicians are attempting to unduly influence this process to deliver the outcome they desire, the cancellation of Site C. Such a rushed timeframe will likely render an incomplete report that will be in stark contrast to the usually comprehensive work of the BCUC. ICBA is concerned that the BCUC risks being placed at the centre of a political debate that is best left to elected officials and the public at large.

However, given the likelihood of this review proceeding, the ICBA requests standing to present to the Commission on behalf of the more than 2,200 men and women working on Site C and British Columbians who strongly support this long-term investment in our clean energy future.

Construction makes up 9 per cent of the provincial economy and employs more than 200,000 British Columbians – their voice deserves to be heard on this important construction and economic issue. We look forward to your response.

Chris Gardner
President
Independent Contractors and Businesses Association

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