Cheap and reliable electricity is a cornerstone of British Columbia’s economy. This month’s Construction Monitor examines the Site C Clean Energy Project, a major new source of power in northeastern B.C. Today, B.C. has a chance to renew and extend the legacy that W.A.C. Bennett began in the 1960s when his government built massive dams and generating stations on the Peace and Columbia Rivers.
The Site C Clean Energy Project on the Peace would create a major new source of power, at a time when BC Hydro expects demand for power to leap with development of a new liquefied natural gas export industry. The $7.9 billion Site C project does more than drive our exports. It creates prosperity for thousands of B.C. businesses and tens of thousands of workers. Construction of the dam and its generating station brings 10,000 person-years of direct employment, and a total of 33,000 person years of work throughout the economy.
Ultimately, everybody in B.C. has a stake. Site C construction contributes $3.2 billion to provincial GDP, $130 million to regional GDP, and $40 million in tax revenues to local government. Once in operation, the positive effects continue. Renewable, clean and green power is a key asset in an increasingly competitive global economy, and Site C is a cost-effective option for maintaining that advantage.
The election in 2013 was won on the notion of economic development and job creation. Voting in the government is an important first step, but we all have a responsibility to ensure that the project succeeds, and that our voices get heard.