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BC Hydro, Peace River District reach Site C deal

BC Hydro will pay the Peace River Regional District (PRRD) more than $168 million over 70 years to compensate for local impacts of the Site C Dam.

Although the project has yet to be approved, the provincial utility and the regional district announced details of a regional legacy benefits agreement today. That agreement includes payments of $2.4 million to be made to the PRRD each year for 70 years. The payments would be indexed to inflation, and would begin once the dam is operational. The money would be allocated to member communities (which include Chetwynd, Dawson Creek, Fort St. John, Hudson’s Hope, Pouce Coupe, Taylor and Tumbler Ridge) based on a formula determined by the regional district.

According to local media, this isn't the end of negotiations. David Conway, community relations manager for Site C, told that they will be doing separate agreements with communities in regards to specific mitigation measures needed, including those to address potential impacts of a large workforce in Fort St. John.

BC Hydro completed its environmental impact statement for Site C -- a massive document based on five years of study -- to a federal and provincial review panel earlier this year.

Public hearings are expected to commence in 2014, and if approved, the project would start generating electricity in 2021.

Colleen Kimmett reports for The Tyee.

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