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Nature Environmental Conservation & Protection

Damming the Peace

The hidden costs of the Site C Dam

by (author) Wendy Holm

James Lorimer & Company Ltd., Publishers
Initial publish date
Apr 2018
Environmental Conservation & Protection, Rivers, Environmental Science, Indigenous Studies, Environmental Policy
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    Publish Date
    Apr 2018
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    Apr 2018
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Since the 1970s, the Site C Dam in northeastern British Columbia's Peace River Valley has been touted by B.C. Hydro and successive governments as necessary to meet the province's increasing energy needs. With its enormous $10 billion price tag, the dam would be the largest public works project in BC history. It would be the third dam on the Peace River, and destroy traditional unceded territory belonging to Treaty 8 First Nations.

Following the last provincial election, the newly appointed NDP government called for a review of the project, but work on the dam continues. This comes after protests by aboriginal groups and landowners, several lawsuits against the government, and federal government intervention to let the dam go ahead. More recently, there has been a call from a United Nations panel to review how the dam will affect Indigenous land.

This book presents the independent voices of citizen experts describing every important impact of the dam, including:

  • Sustainable energy expert Guy Dauncey on future energy demand, and whether there is likely to be a need for the dam's electricity
  • An interview with aboriginal activist Helen Knott on the dam's assault on traditional lands and culture, in particular Indigenous women
  • Agrologist Wendy Holm on the farm land impact — prime horticulture land important to food security and nutrition
  • Family physician Warren Bell on the effect that loss of traditional way of life and connection to the land has had on the health of aboriginal people
  • Wildlife biologist Brian Churchill with forty years' experience of studying its land and wildlife
  • Former environmental minister Joan Sawicki on government cover-ups and smoking guns
  • Energy industry watchdog Andrew Nikiforuk on the links between dams, fracking and earthquakes
  • Award-winning broadcaster Rafe Mair on how party politics corrupts political leadership, and the role of activism and civil disobedience in shaping government decision-making
  • David Schindler, one of the world's foremost water ecologists, explains the role dams like Site C will play in Canada's climate change strategy
  • Joyce Nelson connects the dots between the Site C dam and continental water sharing plans

About the author

WENDY HOLM is a retired Agrologist, columnist, author and speaker. She has been named a Distinguished Alumni of UBC, and has received two Queen's Medals for contribution to community. She has won ten national journalism awards since 2002. She lives on Bowen Island, British Columbia.

Wendy Holm's profile page

Editorial Reviews

"There is an "elephant in the room" — not the huge white elephant that you see at No-Site C rallies. This elephant is dark and invisible. The government does not talk about it ... No. This elephant is rather more sinister. Wendy Holm confronts it and exposes it. It's about exporting water."

The Ormsby Review

"[I]s Site C past the point of no return? Its easy to feel fatigue at reviewing Site C, but its impacts are so significant and long lasting that a responsible citizenry needs to engage. The conversation is not over."

The Tyee

The style found in Damming the Peace is decidedly activist and is likely to be appealing to a wide audience, including those with little background on the topic. The wealth of data presented makes the volume a useful compendium for those looking to make a rational case against the dam.

British Columbian Quarterly

"A massive, $10 billion hydroelectric dam project on British Columbias Peace River could threaten the First Nations peoples who live nearby. This volume dives deep into the potential impacts and decades of governmental cover-ups related to this long-planned project."

The Revelator

"Damming the Peace is an accessible, thoughtful and informative collection of essays that reveal the grave environmental, human and economic costs if the Site C dam is built."

People's Voice

"Wendy Holm brings another perspective to the case against Site C, that of the production of crops."

Nelson Star

"Wendy Holm's Damming the Peace has its eye on the future — what will come if the dam is built?"

The Ormsby Review

"Ranging from Guy Dauncey's thoroughly researched review of energy alternatives that make the proposed output of Site C unnecessary to Joan Sawicki's celebration of the unique microclimate of the Peace Valley that makes it some of the most valuable farming land in BC, and Andrew MacLeod's eloquent piece on indigenous resistors, this is a book full of useful information."

Columbia Journal

"This book provides an organized and rigorous how to guide on the intellectual and fact-based opposition to Site C, and in doing this becomes a great model for a book on any long-term protest. Its ambition is to inform on the subject from every possible angle, keeping the Peace River, the region and its people in mind, rather than the expediency of the business and government angle, which is usually given at least equal weight by the mainstream media."


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