Garth Lenz

Exclusive New Photos: The B.C. Government's Frantic Push to Get Site C Dam Past 'Point of No Return'

Site C dam construction

Just two years ago only four in 10 British Columbians had even heard of the Site C dam. Now, the project — one of the most expensive and environmentally destructive in B.C.’s history — is making international headlines.

With construction ramping up, the high cost of the Site C dam is becoming more visible, and not just on the landscape.

Residents are being forcibly removed from their land. More than 100 kilometres of river valley — much of it agricultural land — is slated for flooding. Independent review processes, meant to ensure the project serves the public interest, have been circumvented and indigenous rights have been trampled.

Tweet: EXCLUSIVE photos: what working toward #SiteC’s ‘point of no return’ looks like http://bit.ly/2ejaJqk @christyclarkbc #bcpoli #bcelxn17B.C. Premier Christy Clark has vowed to get the $9 billion Site C dam past the “point of no return” before the May 2017 provincial election, despite a torrent of experts questioning the demand for the power.

Aided by permits issued by the Trudeau government, construction on the project is rushing ahead, while First Nations wait on a court ruling that could stop construction.

Thanks to donations from you, our readers, DeSmog Canada was able to send celebrated photographer, Garth Lenz, to the Peace to capture the ongoing construction and the landscapes and lives that stand to be affected by the Site C dam.

While the destruction may alarm some readers, it's worth noting that most of the work so far has been isolated to in and around the site of the proposed dam and more than 80 kilometres of river valley remains untouched at this stage. 

In Photos: The Destruction of the Peace River Valley for the Site C Dam

Site C dam before and after

It was a little over a year since I had been in the Peace River Valley. Back in June 2014, I visited the region to take photographs and to produce a film on the land, farms and wildlife that would be forever altered, or completely destroyed, to make way for the biggest and most expensive mega-project in the province’s history.

At that time it all seemed so distant and abstract. Would we really flood more than 100 kilometres of some the richest agricultural land in the north and destroy farms that date back to the first non-native settlers in the region? Were we really willing to clearcut and flood key habitat for a wide range of wildlife? Were we really willing to turn our back on the rights of First Nations who have called this valley home for perhaps 10,000 years? These questions were answered for me in the most brutal fashion when I returned this past November.

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