Diversion tunnels have been completed to redirect the Peace River during low water this summer and fall, in one of the most critical steps to completing the Site C dam, March 2020. (BC Hydro)

B.C. Hydro’s Site C set back by COVID-19, foundation changes

Peace River diversion still on track for this fall

B.C. Hydro’s plan to have the third dam on the Peace River complete and in service by 2024 has been set back by work scaling down due to COVID-19 restrictions on construction projects, and additional foundation strengthening for the powerhouse and spillway.

In a progress report filed with the B.C. Utilities Commission July 31, B.C. Hydro CEO Chris O’Riley says the Site C project is still on track to divert the Peace River through a pair of tunnels and begin in-river work. But that too has been complicated by geological conditions. The financial impact of the coronavirus delays and additional work will be better known in the fall, O’Riley said.

“Pandemic-related delays will present further cost pressure on the budget,” O’Riley wrote in a letter to BCUC chair David Morton. “As the evolution of the pandemic is uncertain and the date of resolution is unknown, various cost and scheduled impact scenarios continue to be assessed and refined as part of the re-baselining process.”

The incoming NDP government reluctantly decided to carry on with Site C, after former premier Christy Clark vowed to push the project “past the point of no return” before the 2017 B.C. election. In doing so, Premier John Horgan approved an updated cost estimate of $10.7 billion to complete it, an increase of about $1 billion from the initial estimate.

RELATED: Site C dam project carries on under NDP government

RELATED: NDP pays off $1.1B in B.C. Hydro debt, seeks rate cut

RELATED: After losing at every level, West Moberly sues again

Now the combined effects of COVID-19 and a series of problems have pushed the cost up by an amount not yet known. Those issues included changes to the main civil works contract, increased costs of reservoir clearing, power line construction and highway realignment, and first nations treaty infringement claims and an injunction application.

“Towards the end of December 2019, investigations and analysis of geological mapping and monitoring activities completed during construction identified that some foundation enhancements would be required to increase the stability below the powerhouse, spillway and future dam core areas,” O’Riley wrote.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Site C was on track for completion by fall 2023 and full service to the B.C. Hydro grid by 2024.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislatureCoronavirusSite C

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

UPDATE: Search effort underway for Slocan River drowning victim

The man was swimming near Winlaw on Wednesday.

No charges yet in death of Abbotsford officer Allan Young

Police and Crown say the investigation is still underway

Practical fashion: Local designers make supplies for Nelson dentists

Surgical caps and gowns have been in short supply for dentists during the pandemic

Kootenay doctor among 82 physicians, dentists calling on province for mandatory mask rule

Open letter says masks should be worn in indoor public spaces, public transportation or in crowds

Structures not threatened by wildfires burning in the Arrow and Kootenay Lakes region

Official says more lightning-caused fires could occur in region over next 36 hours

371 British Columbians battling COVID-19, health officials confirm

Thursday (Aug. 6) saw a second straight day of nearly 50 new confirmed cases

Smoker Farms bringing craft-style cannabis to Beaverdell

Husband-wife team growing small-scale cultivations of marijuana

Arson suspected in several wildfires lit near Kootenay town

RCMP making progress in arson investigation of Marsh Creek fires

Visitors and non-residents entering closed remote B.C. First Nation’s territories

With limited resources, they say they don’t have any authority or power to enforce the closures

UBC loses appeal on Fisheries Act convictions

BC Supreme Court upholds order to pay $1.55-million fine

Masks to be mandatory on BC Transit, TransLink starting Aug. 24

Both BC Transit and TransLink made the announcement in separate press releases on Thursday

Acclaimed B.C. actor Brent Carver passes away

Carver, one of Canada’s greatest actors with a career spanning 40 years, passed away at home in Cranbrook

B.C. would not send students back to school if there was ‘overwhelming risk’: Horgan

Plan has left many parents across the province worried about their children’s safety

Most Read