Hudson’s Hope Mayor and Site C dam critic Gwen Johansson says her community needed to get something out of the contentious BC Hydro project, but says she “couldn’t negotiate the Peace Valley.”
Johansson said she recused herself from negotiations with the Crown corporation, aimed at reaching a deal on the $8.8 billion project under construction 80 kilometres downstream.
The deal was announced Jan. 12, but a BC Hydro news release included statements from Coun. Dave Heiberg instead of the mayor.
"I have always said I couldn't negotiate the Peace Valley,” Johansson said in an email. “At the same time, I have recognized that if decision-makers choose to ignore the growing body of evidence that Site C is not a good project, I cannot stand in the way of my community getting at least something for the enormous losses we will bear because of it.”
“We are fortunate that Councillor Heiberg was available and willing to step in and head our negotiating team. I believe he has done the best that could be done in very difficult circumstances and I thank him for the many hours devoted to trying to get some benefits for Hudson's Hope."
Johansson has been one of the fiercest critics of the project, which the B.C. government approved in 2014.
Site C would flood 83 kilometres of the Peace River Valley and produce around 1,100 megawatts of electricity. Opponents say the province’s power demands could be met without Site C’s environmental impacts, while BC Hydro says Site C is the best available option.
Hudson’s Hope, pop. 1,012, would be one of the communities most impacted by the project.
The Partnering Relationship Agreement includes revitalizing a residential subdivision in the community to provide service jobs and support “long term housing options for the community,” $1 million in funding and a BC Hydro commitment to build and operate a permanent boat launch and day use area on the reservoir.