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