Indigenous Relations

BC Hydro is working with Indigenous communities to build long term relationships by incorporating their interests into the Site C project and finding ways to avoid, mitigate and minimize impacts together.

Indigenous Engagement

We continue to engage with local First Nations and invite their input to help shape the project design and mitigation efforts.

Here are a few changes we've made to address concerns raised by Indigenous groups:

  • Eight year pre-construction consultation period: Long before construction began, we examined project impacts and ways to mitigate them, including an information-gathering period from First Nations.
  • Tree clearing and debris management: To reduce the amount of debris that may end up in the water and at the dam site, we're clearing trees that pose a risk to boater safety and dam operations. Trees are cut and burned, bucked into short logs, chipped or mulched. Some trees will remain in the lower reaches and on steep slopes where it is unsafe to work. Merchantable trees will be hauled to local mills when practical.

    To capture floating debris at the dam construction site, we're building retention structures on the Peace River and the Moberly River, which will catch the remaining logs, vegetation and some ice. These debris structures will be cleared regularly.

  • Slower reservoir filling: To address safety measures, we plan to take a slow, gradual approach to filling the Site C reservoir over the course of several months.

By working together, we've achieved:

  • Economic opportunities: One of our project objectives is to provide lasting economic and social benefits for northern communities and Indigenous groups. We're including First Nations and their members in Site C's construction through business, employment, apprenticeship and training opportunities.
  • Highway 29 realignment: Through working together we were able to make adjustments to the preferred route of the Highway 29 realignment at Cache Creek based on First Nations' input to avoid and reduce impacts to the greatest extent possible to culturally significant sites.
  • Fish passage program: Through studies and consultation, we've gained a better understanding of fish spawning and migration habits on the Peace River. We plan to support First Nations' interests by running a fish passage program to help species return upstream, as well as create new fish habitat downstream of the dam to prevent fish from being stranded.

Where there are impacts we cannot avoid, we're working closely with First Nations to ensure those sites are managed in a culturally appropriate manner.