EDITORIAL – Horgan’s reluctant decision to approve Site C was the right call

An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.

SO, SITE C is a go. Which leaves about half the people in B.C. happy as clams, and the other half mad as hatters.

The Greens and their ilk are in the latter category, of course, but leader Andrew Weaver has already said his party won’t abandon the NDP over it.

He questions why John Horgan was willing to absorb the cost of removing tolls from Lower Mainland bridges but now cites debt-servicing concerns as justification for approving Site C.

Environmental groups have quickly lined up to condemn the decision, with one, the Wilderness Committee, giving a clinic in hyperbole, calling the project a “money wasting, human rights abusing boondoggle of a white elephant.”

Tell us what you really think.

Business is happier. The Independent Contractors and Businesses Association likes the decision but rather than thanking Horgan for saving 2,000 jobs, it grouses that the review was “completely unnecessary.”

Stopping Site C was always a longshot. The decision to let it go ahead is hardly the shock some are claiming.

As costs soar above and beyond the budget, the debate will continue to rage. Site C is a bad project, but letting it go ahead is the right decision, all things considered. Cancelling it would have boosted Hydro rates and cost billions for no return. To use a phrase from the thoughts of former premier Christy Clark, it was already past the point of no return.

Remember, this is a BC Liberal project, not an NDP project. Giving it a reluctant “yes” takes a lot of wind away from the Liberals, and it’s the Liberals who ultimately have to wear it.

There may even be some good news in it for Kamloops. I’m convinced more than ever that the Ajax open-pit copper mine will be rejected, not only for environmental reasons, but because the NDP, having said yes to one mega project, can feel a little more at ease saying no to another.

I’m Mel Rothenburger, the Armchair Mayor.

Mel Rothenburger’s Armchair Mayor editorials appear twice daily Mondays through Thursdays on CFJC- TV. His Armchair Mayor column is published Saturdays on and CFJC Today. Contact him at


About Mel Rothenburger (9652 Articles) is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

5 Comments on EDITORIAL – Horgan’s reluctant decision to approve Site C was the right call

  1. This decision ties BC into the past. It continues the past method of governance that denies first nations rights and ecosystem values and instead values and exemplifies the denialism of north americans regarding our environmental footprint. By spending on this infrastructure, less funding will be there to support the growing renewable tech industry that is exportable in the future; we gain short term employment over future competitiveness in the world. We are falling behind the rest of the world in the 100% Renewable Energy transition to a degree that we may never recover from, while simultaneously losing ecosystem and food production values. While not a fossil-fuel product, this dam is nevertheless old, outdated technology that causes long term damage and increases our CO2 footprint. Macro-hydro is not renewable, it comes at great cost environmentally and financially. Other places in the world are well on their way to a 100% renewable energy future, because they have employed better decision-making and voting policies, better environmental policies, better energy policies and better social policies all at once to grow into a more healthy sustainable future. In BC, apparently, in denial, all we want to do is hold onto the glorious past (and old tech union jobs) even when it holds no logic to it.

  2. A Pyrrhic victory is when the losses exceed the gains, cui bono ? Your grandchildren may call it wilful blindne$$.

  3. Mel,good article about the site c dam. Can you tell me why no one is taking advantage of the latest Alberta commitment to actually shut down its coal fired electricity plants……..isn,t this a perfect market for our electricity from our new dam……..also any descent sales person would know that NWT hydro is almost all diesel…….another market opportunity…….oh yes we could even heat our homes in be with cheap electricity………….I recognize that this is a liberal project but come on,you have a commodity to sell ,get on it………….fresh water is going to be a commodity in great demand……just look at California …………the reporters in this province disappoint me……what a story this could be.

    • This has nothing to do with whether there is a market for the product or not.It is betrayal of many promises given and a denial of the whole environmental impact.Weaver could have stopped this and decided not to.SHAME on him.
      I will not at this time give up on the NDP because I believe there are many other issues that may now end up favoring social justice and the environment.
      I believe that Horgan hated this decision but was forced into that corner by Clark and Weaver.
      Perhaps Mr Weaver will now understand that his authority stems from his alliance with the NDP and like it or not many other issues depend on it.

  4. Interesting and perhaps telling that you did not even mention First Nations issues in your overview of the Site C decision. Hmmmm.

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