Site C Concerns in Hudson’s Hope
Hudson’s Hope, B.C. – The approval of the nearly $9 billion Site C dam continues to raise concerns in Hudson’s Hope.
Just last month a group of Hudson’s Hope landowners were in court in Vancouver arguing the provincial government broke the law by approving the project and by not taking into account all the recommendations (50) put forward by a Joint Review Panel (JRP).
“The basis of the landowners case is that those recommendations were not taken into account afterwards because they were said to be outside the terms of reference, so that’s the question of the case,” says Mayor Gwen Johansson, who was recently in Vancouver sitting in on the case.
“I wasn’t there as a representative of Hudson’s Hope, I was there as an observer. The district is not involved with any of the legal actions but we’re certainly watching them to see what happens,” she says.
The case is one of several legal challenges the mega-project currently faces.
Johansson says the implications for her community are two-fold.
“We are affected both by the construction phase and by the permanent operation of the dam.”
She says during construction, there would be deforestation, land-clearing, and highway re-alignment, not to mention the construction of a 2.5 km rock berm which would require having rock trucks “rumble down the hill from the plateau behind Hudson’s Hope down past the post office” and past four or 5 homes every “six minutes.”
And then there’s the operational phase which Johansson notes means 4,200 acres “would be lost either to flooding or highway re-location or to the permanent statutory rights-of-way.”
“Those statutory rights-of-way restricts what can be done on the land. You can’t put permanent structures on it,” she says. “So those people who were expecting to be able to put water-side cabins and fish off their sun-decks – that’s not going to happen.”
But is there an upside to the project?
“Well, people have to work right? They have to have jobs that allow them to make a living. So some people see it as an opportunity for a job,” she says. “But what a third dam would do to Hudson’s Hope is debatable.”
She’s concludes it’s tricky to try and gauge the overall mood of the communities 1,000 full-time residents considering a lot of them are employed by BC Hydro.
“It’s not a subject that gets a lot of discussion out in the open because there are such divergent voices,” says Johansson. “We’ve worked hard the last 40 years bringing the old-time residents and the hydro employees together to build a cohesive community. We’ve had some success doing that. That’s something we need to preserve.”