It was a tough day at the office on Monday for Energy Minister Michelle Mungall.
“This was not a decision we wanted to make. It was a hard day for sure,” the Nelson-Creston MLA said hours after B.C. Premier John Horgan gave the green light to completion of the Site C hydroelectric dam, after B.C. Hydro revised its cost estimate upward by more than $1 billion.
“I am not pro Site C,” said Mungall, adding, ”We were left with this decision by the previous Liberal government.”
The B.C. NDP cabinet has struggled with the decision, with the project two years in and facing a cost of $4 billion to shut down construction of the third dam on the Peace River and put the site back the way it was.
After hearing from experts for weeks, the government faced an estimate that B.C. Hydro rates are already expected to rise 30 per cent over the next 10 years without the costs of B.C. Hydro.
If the dam is halted, rates would go up another 12 per cent by 2020 to pay the cost. That translates to an extra $198 per year for an average single-family house.
B.C. Green Party leader Andrew Weaver said proceeding with Site C was a result of the NDP “pandering for votes” by taking $4.7 billion of Port Mann bridge debt onto the government books to cancel bridge tolls.
Now the province can’t afford the $4 billion cost of stopping the dam, and it has two bad policies based on political expediency, said Weaver who also tweeted out a video https://www.facebook.com/AndrewWeaverMLA/posts/1501425039972 337 … from July 9, 2016 where Mungall – as an opposition MLA – tells a Paddle for the Peace group in Nelson that “our desire is to keep the Peace the way it is.”
She also states in the video “We will work on a new solution for our energy needs.”
Weaver states in his tweet that “I would suggest a recall campaign in Nelson-Creston would be in order if Site C is approved on her watch as energy minister.”
Mungall did not speak directly about the video, but did say the Green leader tweets too much and “he doesn’t know our region.”