Open letter to: PREMIER HORGAN, cc. HONOURABLE Eby, HONOURABLE Ralston, HONOURABLE James
Gramineae Seed Farm
Arthur & Laurel Hadland
6750 253 Road, Baldonnel, B.C. V0C 1C2
Phone: (250) 789-3566
Re: SITE C IS SINKING INTO OLD MUD
Objective information regarding the geological instability of Site C has been available to decision makers for a long time.
Firstly, the 1963 Professional Engineers’ Analysis of the 1957 collapse of the Peace River Bridge identified the Shaftesbury Shales and high rainfall as the prime reason for that failure.
Secondly, an excerpt from Klohn Crippen & SNC Lavelin Peace River - Site C Hydro Project Reservoir Shoreline Impacts Methodology and Criteria Report No. P05032A02-10-001; September 2009, Page 9:
"The uncertainties in predicting both the extent and rate of the reservoir
shoreline impacts lead to the proposal to adopt an observational approach
for periodically reviewing and updating the reservoir impact lines after the
reservoir has been filled."
This statement should have been a show stopper!
This was followed by a LIDAR report showing 4010 active slide areas in the proposed reservoir.
Thirdly, a 1991 Report for the former Minister of Energy and Mines Jack Weisgerber:
(Quaternary Geology and Landforms of Eastern Peace River Region, British Columbia, by N.R. Catto 1991). This report was made without reference to the proposed flooding of the Lower Peace River Valley; rather it was commissioned to examine aggregate exploitation within the lower Peace River region. This report is brought to the attention of the reader regarding reservoir safety concerns. These concerns are highlighted in this 1991 report by the following excerpted observations:
"Mass movements, including rotational and translation glacial slides and a variety of sediment gravity flows, commonly occur along all the major streams.”…..Page 2
“The high concentrations of montmorillonite and bentonite in the strata, however, together with their poorly consolidated nature, greatly increases susceptibility of these rocks to slope failure following fluvial (or arthropogenic) undercutting or overloading.”…..Page 2
"The clays are generally plastic, susceptible to sediment gravity flow if disturbed, and contain a high proportion of material derived from the local Cretaceous bedrock.”…..Page 5
“Mass movements in the region can be induced by the fluvial undercutting, natural overloading of the slopes (e.g. by debris flow from above), loss of internal cohesion due to sudden saturation (as was common during June, 1990), or by human activity. Evidence of past colluviation in the region is extensive (Bobrowsky et al. 1991), and extreme caution is required in any effort to exploit or utilize river valley slopes.”….Page 10
“Thus, all of the major terrain slopes present in the eastern Peace River Region are subject to slope failure. Extreme caution should therefore be observed in any effort to exploit or utilize river valley slopes.”…..Page 15
"Valley slopes throughout the region are subject to slope failure and colluviation, and the development of these sites should be minimized."…..Page 17 summary excerpt
This, plus many other warning signs, were ignored. A blatant case of WILLFULL BLINDNESS.
Today all the ratepayers and taxpayers of BC have NO INFORMATION RE: THE STATE OF AFFAIRS AT SITE C
All that citizens have access to are rumours:
That the Shaman gravel pit which was to be used to build the berm across the river has been found to not meet engineering standards for compaction.
That the diversion tunnels and spillway are apparently sinking into the old mud.
That the Power Plant base (70’ deep roller compacted concrete) is sinking into the old mud.
That a proposed solution is to drill through the 70’ of concrete and attempt to stabilize the base using long screw piles. It sounds bizarre.
That three international dam building experts were hired to find bedrock at any cost. Attempts to verify that rumour by requesting the terms of reference and an unredacted copy of their report were stonewalled. Instead a BCHPA spokesman said that the Shaftesbury Shale was the bedrock. These shales are very water soluble and weak. Some bedrock!!
That grouting the shale will stop hydraulicing of the migrating waters. In a layman’s opinion, the attempt to grout the shale will exacerbate the unsafe conditions of the dam site material AN INDEPENDENT OPINION, IN WRITING, ON THE GROUTING PROPOSAL IS NEEDED to confirm or deny dam safety. The 1976 Teton Dam disaster in Idaho needs to be referenced when addressing the potential for water hydraulicing.
The information that is available is all rumours. If these rumours are not true, please have an internationally accredited professional engineer provide the actual information. I have no confidence in anyone associated with SNC Lavalin, the BCHPA monolith, the Assurance Board or the Minister Responsible for Public Safety. Please provide transparent information from an expert not affiliated with the agencies mentioned, including the Provincial Government. Truth is a precious commodity and so far after numerous letters, I have not received either replies or clear, honest answers to my questions regarding this project.
I will also add that there is a Natural Gas cogeneration plant under construction in Edson Alberta. This 900‑megawatt combined cycle natural gas power plant. Would be developed in two 450megawatt phases, with each phase requiring the installation of one gas turbine and one steam turbine. The power plant will be located approximately 12km southwest of Edson It will be built on Crown lands on a 52ha site, located near existing transmission lines and substations. The power generation facility will be directly connected to other gas processing facilities in the same area that will reduce the cost. It will be built for $1.5 Billion. It is safe will be on budget and meet project timelines. It is doubtful if the Site C project which is an environmental and economic folly of BC’s 21 Century can be successfully completed.
Providing these rumours are true and the shale does not constitute bedrock sufficient to construct a dam, the following observation is made. The dam engineers did not understand the weakness of the shale as a dam base or you were deliberately misled.
It is time to cease the frivolous expenditure of taxpayers’ money and let this unsafe project die a natural death. The Site C debacle has or is a convenient vehicle for the transfer of large sums of wealth from the individual taxpayer to private corporate interests.
In summary, Mr. Premier, I believe that you and Cabinet have been hoodwinked by SNC Lavalin, the Board of BCHPA and the Project Assurance Board. Answers are needed from your office and not the compromised Board of Directors of BCHPA or its equally inadequate Project Assurance Board.
Confirmation that the spillway, diversion tunnels and powerhouse base are sinking into the Shaftesbury Shales (old mud). There is no bedrock at Site C adequate to anchor and render the dam safe.
Honest communication with an uninformed and unsuspecting taxpayer that Site C is unsafe, unnecessary and uneconomic in other words…….. an unmitigated disaster. Destroying 45 eagle nests, 83 km. of wildlife and waterfowl habitat, many acres of forestland and precious farmland is neither green nor clean. Power demand in BC has straight lined since 2003. Alternate equivalent energy production can be produced for a fixed $1.5 Billion price tag. Why are your offices allowing an unchecked project to continue escalating from $10,7 Billion up to numbers of 15 to 20 Billion? The taxpayers of B.C. deserve to know why!
The taxpayers also need to know the terms of reference for the April 2018 hiring of 3 international experts who were hired to find bedrock at any cost. Also an unredacted copy of their report.
Please confirm the rumours of geologic instability or have an independent professional engineer refute these rumours.
It is time to let this unsafe and uneconomic project die a natural death.
Awaiting an answer sooner rather than later.
Original letter signed by author
Arthur A Hadland
Citizen of the Peace
Former Director of Area C, PRRD
”Secrecy, being an instrument of conspiracy, ought not be the system of a regular government.” Jeremy Bentham (Jeremy Bentham was an English philosopher, jurist, and social reformer)