Out of Sight, Out of Mind: The Plight of the Peace Valley and the Site C Dam

Fourteen hours. That’s roughly how long it takes to drive the 1,220 kilometres between Vancouver and Fort St. John, B.C. So it's not surprising that the Peace River Country feels a world away to the three-quarters of British Columbians who live in the Lower Mainland or on Vancouver Island.

But the decision about whether or not to build a third hydroelectric dam on the Peace River stands to directly affect all British Columbians — from the implications for our electricity bills to the flooding of some of our province's most valuable agricultural land.

If built, the Site C dam would entail the biggest outlay of public funds in the next 20 years — and yet only one in four British Columbians have even heard of the project. The Site C dam has already been stopped twice. But with B.C.'s power-hungry liqueified natural gas plans and a growing population, what will happen to the Peace Valley this time around?

In this series, DeSmog Canada visits the Peace Valley and explores the issues surrounding the Site C dam proposal, from First Nations rights and wildlife concerns to the economic case and alternative sources of electricity.

Photo credit: Andrea Morison and Don Hoffmann

Some of the original reporting in this series was made possible through the generous support of Wilburforce Foundation.

In this series

On January 20, BC Hydro issued a press release singing the praises of a new hydro transmission line...
By Ben Parfitt, 4 Feb, 2016
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...
By Garth Lenz, 18 Dec, 2015
Site C dam flood reserve level
In an exclusive interview with DeSmog Canada, former BC Hydro CEO Marc Eliesen says ratepayers will...
By Emma Gilchrist, 5 Aug, 2015
Caleb Behn at Paddle for the Peace
On the banks of the Peace River on Saturday, Grand Chief Stewart Phillip told hundreds of opponents...
By Emma Gilchrist, 12 Jul, 2015
Diefenbaker and Eisenhower
On January 17, 1961, Canadian Prime Minister John Diefenbaker and United States President Dwight...
By Emma Gilchrist, 28 May, 2015
Site C dam
Revelations from DeSmog Canada’s exclusive sit-down interview with Harry Swain, the chair of the...
By Emma Gilchrist, 13 Mar, 2015
Harry Swain, chair of Site C panel
Part 1 of DeSmog Canada’s exclusive sit-down interview with Harry Swain, the man who chaired the...
By Emma Gilchrist, 11 Mar, 2015
Peace Valley Site C Dam
In his first interview on the Site C dam, the chair of the federal-provincial panel appointed to...
By Emma Gilchrist, 10 Mar, 2015
Lori Ackerman Mayor of Fort St. John
Projects like the $7.9-billion Site C dam cannot be built “on the shoulders of communities,” says...
By Emma Gilchrist, 15 Sep, 2014
Flood Reserve Level Site C dam
It’s a sweltering 35 degrees as I pull up to a trailer housing the W.A.C. Bennett Dam visitor...
By Emma Gilchrist, 11 Sep, 2014
Ardill Ranch
In 1920, Renee Ardill’s grandparents arrived in the Peace Valley with nothing more than a milk cow...
By Emma Gilchrist, 2 Sep, 2014
Peace River SIte C dam
A third hydroelectric dam proposed for the Peace River would flood 83 kilometres of the Peace...
By Emma Gilchrist, 22 Jul, 2014
Paddle for the Peace
I round a bend on Highway 29 just west of Fort St. John and a magnificent river valley opens up...
By Emma Gilchrist, 15 Jul, 2014
Treaty 8 Tribal Association Chief Liz Logan
The B.C. government cannot expect support from First Nations for its much-touted liquefied natural...
By Judith Lavoie, 3 Jul, 2014
Major industrial power users in British Columbia fear that if the proposed Site C dam becomes a...
By Judith Lavoie, 10 Jun, 2014
 "Geothermal borehole house" by Lydur Skulason
Thirty-one years ago, when the Site C dam in B.C.’s Peace Valley was rejected for the first time,...
By Emma Gilchrist, 3 Jun, 2014
Christy Clark at LNG Canada announcement
Every day British Columbians flick on light switches, power up their computers and cook dinner,...
By Judith Lavoie, 27 May, 2014
Peace Valley
Fourteen hours. That’s roughly how long it takes to drive the 1,220 kilometres between Vancouver...
By Emma Gilchrist, 22 May, 2014