BC Wildlife Federation Response to the Decision to Proceed with Site C Dam Construction

The BC Wildlife Federation fully expects the government will direct BC Hydro to compensate for significant losses of fish, wildlife and their habitats as a result of construction of the Site C Dam project. The BCWF position is that the impacts have not been adequately mitigated or off set for upstream impoundments, let alone Site C. The public is reminded that BC Hydro never came close to adequately compensating for losses due to the Peace Dam which was far greater in size and impact than Site C. The existing Peace/Williston Compensation Program requires a complete overhaul and appointment of a BCWF representative on the Board.

Fish and Wildlife Compensation Programs, (FWCP) continue to be an issue for the BC Wildlife Federation. The mandate of the compensation programs to address fish and wildlife losses appears to be diluted in terms of larger cumulative effects in the Columbia and Peace Basins. These FWCP programs have lost their way—they are supposed to restore fish and wildlife habitat and populations impacted by hydro developments. Instead funds are being spent on non-impacted resources and funds are being used to promote BC Hydro’s image. The funds are administered by BC Hydro and this is akin to having the coyote look after the chicken coop.

It was the BCWF in the 1980s that was instrumental in formation of these programs yet BCWF continued to be denied representation on the three Boards. Recent meetings with BC Hydro have been unproductive and the government representatives sit in silence evidently supportive of BC Hydro’s dominance of Board decision making. For a decade the BCWF has advocated that the compensation funds should be held and administered by a third party to ensure transparency and openness.

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