Fred Richer holds up a sign during the Site C protest in Nelson on Wednesday. Photo: Tyler Harper

Site C protest held outside Michelle Mungall’s office

The demonstration Wednesday was held following the NDP’s decision to continue the project

As the deadline approached for the NDP to make a decision on the fate of the Site C hydroelectric dam, Rik Logtenberg felt confident the controversial project would be scrapped.

Instead, the NDP announced Monday the dam’s construction would proceed. Logtenberg, who previously campaigned for Nelson-Creston MLA Michelle Mungall, was shocked.

“That was horrible. It was devastating,” he said.

“When you look at the Peace River from an ecological perspective, it’s a treasure. It really is. From an [agricultural and cultural] perspective, it’s a treasure. From an economic perspective, it’s a disaster. It’s not viable. It’s saddling us with a great deal of debt. It seemed to me such a clear and obvious decision that maybe I was overly optimistic but I felt that I was pretty confident the NDP was going to do the right thing.”

Logtenberg was one of about 20 protesters gathered outside Mungall’s Josephine Street office on Wednesday to show their disapproval with the Minister of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources. Mungall’s office door was closed during the protest, but two of her staff gathered comments from protesters.

Mungall reiterated to the Star on Monday that she is not in favour of Site C, but decisions made by the previous Liberal government left her ruling party no choice.

Related: Site C dam decision ‘tough’ for Mungall

Related: Columbia River Treaty to be renegotiated in early 2018

That excuse didn’t hold much water with K.L. Kivi, who led the crowd in chants.

“We just want to keep holding [Mungall’s] feet to the fire,” she said. “We don’t want it to just pass by and say, ‘oh, too bad.’ Part of the democratic process is continuing to speak up, continuing to speak our truth regardless of the outcome. We’re here just to let her know no, this is not OK with us and we’ll continue to fight.”

Site C has been under construction for two years. B.C. Premier John Horgan said shutting it down would cost $4 billion, and that hydro rates would rise 12 per cent by 2020.

The final cost of the project is estimated to be $10.7 billion by the time it is completed in 2024.

“That money could have been put toward wind energy, other sources of renewables,” said Kivi. “This is a near-sighted decision. We need a far-sighted decision. We need for my grandchildren and great grandchildren not to be paying for this dam for 70 years.”

Logtenberg said he was surprised the lessons of the Columbia River Treaty hadn’t been considered in the Site C decision.

The treaty was signed between Canada and the United States in 1964 and led to the construction of three dams in B.C. and one in Montana. It also meant several Kootenay communities were flooded along with traditional Sinixt land, and had major ecological consequences.

“We’ve felt the ramifications here in the Kootenays on a deep level. To see this happen again in the Peace is pretty shocking,” said Logtenberg. “It’s like we hadn’t learned that lesson, or the lesson we’ve learned here in the Kootenays wasn’t conveyed to the decision makers, which in the case of Michelle Mungall is pretty surprising.

“She knows the issue. She knows the pain that it has caused a lot of people here in the Kootenays. She knows the damage it has caused ecologically, and yet has made this decision. [That] makes it all the more painful.”

Martin Carver was among the people taking part in the protest. The local resident has a PhD in hydrology from the University of British Columbia and has researched the downstream impacts of Site C on First Nations.

He said he was primarily concerned about the effect the dam’s construction would have on Alberta’s Wood Buffalo National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site where the Peace River meets the Athabasca River.

“We seem to be primarily hearing that the decision is about bond ratings and the conversion of that $4 billion into the number of hospitals and highways,” said Carver, “and there’s so many more considerations going on than that, but that’s what we’re hearing about from the government, which is very discouraging.”



tyler.harper@nelsonstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

CORRECTION: A previous version of this story stated the Columbia River Treaty led in part to the disappearance of salmon in the river. In fact, that had begun previous to the treaty.

Just Posted

LETTER: Yellow Vests

While it is fine to see citizens speaking their minds, it is crucial to get the facts right.

Creston Valley Chamber of Commerce preparing for business awards gala

Be sure to check the Jan. 24 Creston Valley Advance for the first week of available ballots.

First meeting for Fire Hall Technical Building Advisory Committee

The full-day orientation will provide an overview of the previous process and seek input on opportunities to move forward.

Police get hot tip on cold case

Creston RCMP received 50 calls for assistance.

New maternity care clinic opens at hospital

The Maple Maternity Clinic expects to see approximately 50 clients per year.

UPDATE: B.C. legislature managers accused of excessive travel, personal expense claims

Clerk Craig James, security chief Gary Lenz call allegations ‘completely false’

B.C. man fined $10,000 after leaving moose to suffer before death

Surrey man was convicted last week on three Wildlife Act charges

‘Blue Monday’ isn’t real, but depression can be

CMHA encourages people to prioritize their mental health

Anti-pipeline group wants NEB to consider impact of emissions, climate change

Stand.earth filed NEB motion asking to apply same standard to the project as it did with Energy East pipeline

Parole granted for drunk driver who killed B.C. RCMP officer

Kenneth Jacob Fenton will be able to attend alcohol abuse treatment, nearly three years after crash that killed Const. Sarah Beckett

B.C. man charged in 2014 snake venom death of toddler

Henry Thomas was taking care of the North Vancouver girl the day before she died

B.C.’s largest public-sector union wants inquiry into money laundering, drugs

Union officials say Premier John Horgan and Attorney General David Eby have not ruled out the possibility of a public inquiry

Teen in confrontation with Native American: I didn’t provoke

Nick Sandmann of Covington Catholic High School said he was trying to defuse the situation

New military armoury opens in Cranbrook

Military presence in the Key City a part of the 44th Engineer Squadron

Most Read