Rethinking BC Hydro’s Site C

Site C’s “Big Dam/Big Lake” design promises irrevocable damage but might go ahead. Is the civil engineering Code of Ethics a root cause for this wicked dilemma?


BC Hydro’s proposed $8 billion dam will expropriate and flood 80 km of forests, farms and homes, and 7,000 acres of Class 1 and 2 agriculture land—ignoring impact to farming, and animal migration corridors, while strip-mining the local tax base that communities need to provide public services.

Could a new conversation solve this wicked dilemma?

BC Hydro is chock-full of iron-ringed civil engineers who pride themselves on being able to create a great solution.  Could we challenge them to find new thinking and the latest technologies to build a better solution?

And then to ask…if BC Hydro can get equivalent power value with a sustainable solution, but refuses to change the existing Site C plan, are civil engineers being required to focus on a Big Dam solution vs. a Sustainable Energy solution (energy in all its forms)?

Premier Clark courageously introduced the Community Contribution Company (C3) framework to give companies a legal framework to pursue a “wider-society” approach: “Designed to bridge the gap between for-profit businesses and non-profit enterprises, this innovative business model is the first of its kind in Canada. C3 status allows entrepreneurs in B.C. to pursue social goals through their businesses while still generating a profit and providing investment opportunities to like-minded investors.” 

Should BC Hydro become BC Energy? And can we require all Crown Corporations to follow the C3 framework? Can we find the same all-Party courage to reflect these new responsibilities – with an upgraded APEG Code of Ethics for C3 Corporations?

For example, using the C3 Code of Ethics option, could one option be a revised Site C in the Moberly River side valley?  Are there better civil engineering solutions? 

Moberly River marine aqueduct

Concept: Moberly River marine aqueduct across the Peace Valley (Google Earth x3 vertical exaggeration)

sir-adam-beck-stationOntario’s Sir Adam Beck Station obtains water through a canal from the upper Niagara River.  Could Site C obtain sufficient head supplied with a pipeline or canal from the Peace Dam to a Moberly River head-pond?

  • • Separating industrial/commercial traffic from Peace River’s ecology
  • • Aqueduct connection between Fort St. John and the headpond
  • • Creating a riverboat/rail tourist season with access to Williston Lake
  • • Using daily-night cycle of demand fluctuations to:
    • o Move water at low cost to top-of-slope reservoirs
    • o Supply irrigation waters to river terraces
    • o Supply barge locks


Or do we need Site C, if it makes more ecological sense to obtain the same hydro-electric production . . . by building a reservoir in the headland depressions east of Williston Lake’s W.A.C. Bennett Dam; with hydroelectric spillways falling to the Peace River above and below the lower Peace Dam?

Dave Huer








dhuer-site-c-revisioning-oct2014-p2Original PDF concept here

Anticipated Future Value of Public Resources (AFVPR) – a shared resources’ framework


The common ground for Oil Sands Float Rights and Hydrological Spread water tax credits . . .is a public resource conservation framework: calculating the AFVPR of a limited resource, so that we can plan for recovery and return of the value of those resources back to their original value, the intrinsic state we all enjoy.  

  • – Using the AFVPR framework, we obtain market incentive to maximize self-interested conservation of the common resources we all depend on as a species and a civilization.
  • – Using AFVPR with Hydrological Spreads . . . we can manage limited supply, drought-induced shortages and over-pumping shortages, and minimize contamination of surface supplies, the water table, and local aquifers.  See the AFVPR water discussion here
  • – We can use AFVPR for . . . liquid water and water vapour for drinking, irrigation, and industrial use; energy supplies (hydroelectric, oil, gas, oil sands, solar), public forests, and topsoil).
  • – We can use AFVPR to . . .  create market incentive to cut industrial waste and contamination to zero (100% Zero Waste),
  • – Using AFVPR, governments offer incentive to create new technologies, such as vapour loss monitoring tools, to incentivize zero waste.
  • – Using AFVPR, entrepreneurs obtain incentive to create that new technologies, and the jobs that go with it.


The countries, states, and provinces that put AFVPR in place get market advantage first.

Are there ways that AFVPR could be used in your country?


Creative Commons Credit: – Video by Mr. Rain and Thunder



Sacred Priorities Protocol

ChilcotinMapRecognizing the intangibles of the new relationship.  SPP link here

Yesterday, the Supreme Court of Canada confirmed title to the Tsilhqot’in Nation.

The Tsilhqot’in Nation in British Columbia have always possessed aboriginal title to approximately 2,000 square kilometres of land.  The decision – the first to recognize aboriginal title to specific real property – explicitly renounces the Euro-British doctrine of terra nullius. The doctrine claimed that no one owned the land before the Crown claimed it, and the Court has determined that this has no basis in Canadian law.

The Crown (as the embodiment of the State) is required to obey the letter and spirit of its own treaties of shared rule, originating with the Royal Proclamation of 1763.

‘ “This is the fulfillment of that promise, held out by the Crown 250 years ago.”

Brian Slattery, Osgoode Hall Law School’

 Aboriginal Title

  • Control of ancestral lands and the right to use them for modern economic purposes, without destroying those lands for future generations.
  • Government can create works that show overwhelming value, but have to show substantive consultation and must reconcile those needs with aboriginal rights to title.
  • The Court explicitly states that the decision holds for all lands that were not ceded to the Crown by treaty.
  • Nearly all of BC.


Sacred Priorities Protocol – Could this be a way forward?

Seeding a Community-led Sacred Priorities Joint Mapping Database Initiative to map valuation zones for joint resource and economic development projects

I’ve been networking a respectful technical solution through industry since 2010.

There have been complaints that intangible cultural values are not scientific and therefore should not be allowable at Environmental Review Boards.

SPP proposes a method to have local communities assign values to intangible values, such as landscapes, as scientific/technical values…as a means to find win-wins vs. the old Might Makes Right way of resource extraction.

It is written here at a granular level, with an example and flowchart, for use at the very start of industrial development planning. Years and millions of dollars before a project is assessed by regulators. For example, with mining, after test drilling has identified an economic ore body but before the start of ore body extraction planning.

  • SPP flows out of watching mining projects fail across in BC.
  • The procedure could be used to create technical and governance win-win expertise.
  • Expertise exportable around the globe.

But to work, any Protocol must be centred in the good earth of respect for First Nations Law and Title.

And acknowledgement that when we Europeans and British arrived, we privatized property that wasn’t ours.

If we don’t acknowledge our own law, why should First Nations acknowledge it either?


Dave Huer