Mike Carter Chetwynd Echo Reporter
OTTAWA – The Joint Review Panel reviewing the proposed Site C clean energy project near Fort St. John announced last week that the Environmental Impact Statement, along with the additional information submitted by BC Hydro contains sufficient information to proceed to the public hearing phase.
Public hearings will begin in Fort St. John on Dec. 9 and will be completed in January 2014.
The majority of the hearings will be held in Fort St. John. But, the Joint Review Panel will hold one general hearing session in Chetwynd on Dec. 14, and two community sessions in Moberly Lake Dec. 16 and Saulteau Dec. 17.
In a letter addressed to the director of environmental assessment for Site C, Danielle Melchoir, Joint Review Panel chair Harry Swain said that although the panel determined that BC Hydro’s amended Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) contained sufficient information to move forward to a public hearing, the panel recognizes that there are still several dissenting voices.
“The panel recognizes that differences of views still remain between BC Hydro and other interested parties on a number of issues related to the environmental assessment of the project,” Swain wrote.
“[We] anticipate that the information generated as part of the amended EIS review will be further developed and clarified through the hearing process.”
All hearing sessions are open to members of the public who wish to attend. The primary purpose of the hearings are for the Joint Review Panel to receive information it requires to complete its environmental assessment of the project.
The hearings will also give BC Hydro, the public, Aboriginal groups and local governments an opportunity to present their views in person to the panel on the project and its potential environmental, social, heritage and health effects.
Hearings will be held in Fort St. John, Hudson’s Hope, Prince George, Chetwynd, Dawson Creek and Peace River.
General hearing sessions, such as the one scheduled for Chetwynd on Dec. 14, will provide an opportunity for registered participants to present their overall views on the project and its potential effects.
Community hearing sessions, like those schedule in Moberly Lake and Saulteau on Dec. 16 and 17, are held in selected Aboriginal communities to allow community members to express their views and present their information and issues to the panel in an informal setting.
For all hearing sessions, the Joint Review Panel invites persons who wish to participate in the hearing to register as soon as possible.
For General and Community sessions, participants may make an oral presentation or file a written submission, or do both.
Following the close of the public hearing portion of the review, the panel will submit its report to the federal Minister of the Environment and the executive director of the British Columbia Assessment Office.
To view the public hearing schedule, the registration form and the hearing procedures, visit www.eao.gov.bc.ca, reference number 63919.
All submissions received will be considered public and posted on the online public registries.
To be added to the distribution list and kept informed of the activities relating to the panel review process, provide contact information to: SiteCReview@ceaa-acee.gc.ca
To register, file a submission for the hearing sessions and schedule a presentation, contact either panel co-manager Courtney Trevis or Brian Murphy at the contact information below.
Courtney Trevis, Phone: (Toll Free) 1-866-582-1884. Email: SiteCReview@ceaa-acee.gc.ca Brian Murphy, Phone: 250-387-2402.