FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. — BC Hydro has launched a $20 million fund supporting agricultural production in the Peace River region, which is aimed at addressing the potential impact on agriculture by the Site C project.
“The $20-million Peace Agricultural Compensation Fund is a key component of the Site C project Agriculture Mitigation and Compensation Plan (ACMP),” explained the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources in a release.
“The ACMP was developed as part of the environmental approvals for the Site C project and is required under the project’s Environmental Assessment Certificate.”
The fund will be managed by a 10-member, Peace Agricultural Compensation Fund Board, comprised of the five regional agricultural organizations, the Peace River Regional District and agricultural producers.
The timelines for implementing the fund will ultimately be determined by the board, which will first need time to develop the application process and criteria, the release reads.
It is anticipated that funds will start to flow from the fund in 2019.
In February 2018, BC Hydro invited the Peace River Regional District (PRRD) and Peace River agricultural organizations to identify their appointees to the board.
The members-at-large are agricultural producers in the Peace region, according to the province, and will serve staggered terms, “to ensure that one member-at-large position is open each year.”
Appointees to the board include:
- BC Grain Producers Association – Rick Kantz
- Peace River Forage Association of BC – Heather Fossum
- Peace River Regional Cattlemen’s Association – Howard Goertz
- BC Breeder and Feeder Association – Connie Patterson
- Peace Region Forage Seed Association – Blair Hill
- PRRD board – Angela Watson
- Gene Gladysz, member-at-large (one-year term)
- Travis Winnicky, member-at-large (two-year term)
- Malcolm Odermatt, member-at-large (three-year term)
- Colin Meek, Peace River Valley agricultural producer (two-year term)
Site C will be a third dam and generating station on the Peace River in northeast B.C. The project will provide 1,100 megawatts of capacity and about 5,100 gigawatt hours of energy each year to the province’s electricity system, explains the project’s website.
The megaproject has seen its share of controversy over the years after the provincial NDP government promised a review of the project as part of its election platform. That review, which examined the project’s viability, resulted in a report issued on Nov. 1, 2017 by the British Columbia Utilities Commission. On Dec. 11, 2017 the NDP government decided to proceed with the project.
B.C. Hydro has said more than 2,000 people are working on Site C.