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

DFO says the five aggrieved B.C First Nations were consulted on fisheries plan

Nuu-chah-nulth First Nations calls response ‘a sham,’ adding DFO never incorporates their views

Share your thoughts on proposed Quinsam Heights Official Community Plan changes

The City of Campbell River is seeking public feedback on a proposal… Continue reading

Three active COVID-19 cases on Vancouver Island

Since July 24, Central island has had five new cases, North one, South none

Campbell River mural defaced by graffiti

The owner of a building on Westgate Road is upset that a… Continue reading

Man, 54, charged in connection with fatal attack of Red Deer doctor

Doctor was killed in his walk-in clinic on Monday

One dead as fish boat sinks off southern Vancouver Island

Shawnigan Lake-registered Arctic Fox II went down off Cape Flattery, west of Victoria

Landlord takes front door, windows after single B.C. mom late with rent

Maple Ridge mom gets help from community generosity and government

42 more people test positive for COVID-19 in B.C.

The province has recorded no new deaths in recent days

Joe Biden selects California Sen. Kamala Harris as running mate

Harris and Biden plan to deliver remarks Wednesday in Wilmington

Lawsuit launched after Florida child handcuffed, booked and briefly jailed

Suit alleges “deliberate indifference” to what should have been handled as a behavioural issue

Russia approves vaccine, Putin hopes to begin mass production

Critic calls decision to proceed without thorough testing ‘dangerous and grossly immoral’

Most Read