“I think we’re making a big mistake, a very expensive one,” Swain says in the video. “Of the $9 billion it will cost, at least $7 billion will never be returned. You and I as rate payers will end up paying $7 billion bucks for something we get nothing for.”
Since 2005, domestic demand for electricity in B.C. has been essentially flat, making it difficult to justify the dam which will flood 107 kilometres of the Peace River and destroy thousands of hectares of prime agricultural land.
“There is no need for Site C,” Swain says. “If there was a need, we could meet it with a variety of other renewable and smaller scale sources.”
With a price tag of $8.8 billion, Site C dam is the most expensive public infrastructure project in B.C.’s history. The joint review panel that Swain chaired found demand for the power had not been proven and called for the project to be reviewed by the B.C. Utilities Commission — a recommendation the B.C. government ignored.
Swain first spoke out about the Site C dam last year, but this is the first video interview on the subject with the former deputy minister of Indian and Northern Affairs.
“The provinces have the responsibility for the management of natural resources. I don’t think British Columbia has done its job,” Swain says, referring to B.C.’s failure to investigate alternatives to the Site C dam.
Swain outlined the economic case against the dam in an opinion piece in the Vancouver Sun on Friday.
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