The Peace River is located in the northeast corner of British Columbia. It has long been recognized that the river has significant potential to generate electricity and, by 1980, two of three productive sites had been exploited (see map). Since July 2015, BC Hydro, the provincially owned power utility, has been constructing a dam at the third site. This third dam, the Site C project, has become a subject of intense controversy.
In the provincial election held in the spring of 2017, the then-governing Liberals defended their decision to launch the $9 billion project, while the NDP and Green Party opposed completion – the Greens more adamantly than the NDP. The election outcome was 43 Liberal MLAs and 41 NDP, with three Green MLAs holding the balance of power. The province is now governed by the NDP under Premier John Horgan with support from the Greens. One of the new government’s initiatives was to order a quick review of the Site C project. The BC Utilities Commission (BCUC) was given a deadline of November 1. At the time of writing in early November, its final report has been released and the government is reviewing the findings. A decision is expected before the end of the year.
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