Skip to main content

Protesters are defying an eviction notice from BC Hydro as the Crown utility presses ahead with land clearing around the Site C hydroelectric project along the Peace River in northeastern British Columbia.

Verena Hoffmann/THE CANADIAN PRESS

Members of a small but defiant group are pledging to keep protesting the Site C hydroelectric project in northeastern British Columbia, despite being ordered off the land.

They set up a camp on Dec. 31, when BC Hydro and Power Authority issued an eviction notice while pressing ahead with land clearing for the controversial $9-billion dam.

The crown corporation gave protesters 24 hours to leave the area known as Rocky Mountain Fort, on the south bank of the Peace River, just a few kilometres south of Fort St. John.

Story continues below advertisement

It warned that BC Hydro personnel will remove all contents of the camp and deliver it to RCMP but such action had not been taken by Monday afternoon.

Verena Hofmann, a Peace River Valley resident who was at the encampment over the weekend, said contractors appear ready to begin logging a three-kilometre region that is First Nations territory.

"We've just heard that equipment has started up. It looks like they are intending to keep on cutting," she said on the phone from Fort St. John. "Treaty 8 First Nation people are holding their ground and are not moving from the site, so things are intensifying and changing quickly."

Ms. Hofmann said demonstrators believe BC Hydro has no right to force them off the land in the midst of ongoing legal challenges involving Site C.

Several court cases raise major concerns about the potential impact of flooding from the creation of a new lake on the Peace River and the surrounding valley during construction of the dam.

She said upward of about five people at a time are occupying the west side of the mouth of the Moberly River in rotating shifts. First Nations people and other landowners are staying in a small cabin that was flown to the bank, as well as a hunting tent, she said.

It takes about 30 minutes by walk or less by snow machine to reach an area where contractors are set up, she said.

Story continues below advertisement

"There is no physical structure blockading BC Hydro's construction, it's individual people approaching them and reasonably and respectfully pleading with them to cease construction."

Local people are trying to protect the land – significant because it contains swaths of old-growth boreal forest – until court proceedings run their full course, Ms. Hofmann said.

She said the group has asked that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau reassess the environmental approval granted for the project by the former Conservative government, in conjunction with the B.C. government.

BC Hydro said a spokesman was not immediately available to comment.

The Rocky Mountain Fort was established in 1794 by the North West Company as a fur trading post and is the site of the earliest settler post in mainland B.C.

The dam will be the third on the Peace River, creating an 83-kilometre-long reservoir that's slated to power up to 450,000 homes a year.

Story continues below advertisement

BC Hydro announced in mid-December that a consortium of three companies will be paid about $1.75-billion to build the largest components of the Site C development over the next eight years.

Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

Cannabis pro newsletter
To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies