Poll: Over half of British Columbians say completion of Site C dam is right choice

Jan 12 2018, 5:43 pm

A politically risky call that might have threatened the future of the NDP government in BC is being met with the approval of just over half of British Columbians.

According to pollster Angus Reid, 52% of British Columbians say the Horgan government’s decision to continue construction of the Site C dam on the Peace River in the northeast region of the province was the “right decision” – twice as many as say it was the wrong one (26%).

“But while the decision on Site C may provide an added spring to the step of this nascent government, it will need to shore up what appears to be softening support for a key campaign promise to introduce proportional representation in BC,” said Angus Reid in a release.

Broken down a little further, the poll also found that 78% of past BC Liberal supporters believe the government made the right choice with respect to Site C.

There was much lower support for the project from both Green (42%) and NDP (44%) voters.

The decision to proceed with the dam project was made in early December of last year.

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At the time, Horgan said “megaproject mismanagement by the old government has left BC in a terrible situation.”

But, he added, “we cannot punish British Columbians for those mistakes, and we can’t change the past. We can only make the best decision for the future.”

The decision to carry on with the project was made following the findings of a BC Utilities Commission (BCUC) review conducted over three months.

The latest official project budget has risen from $8.8 billion to $10.7 billion.

A cancellation would also be highly costly, as the review found that it would cost BC Hydro ratepayers at least $4 billion, with the provincial government taking on the debt – raising BC’s level of taxpayer-supported debt from $44.6 billion to $48.6 billion.