Sunday, May 21, 2017

After the Writ: Waiting for the BC Election Boot to Drop in the Peace

Valley landowners await results of final ballot count

Dam's fate likely to be decided by result

Alaska Highway News
May 19, 2017 11:19 AM
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Valley landowners await results of final ballot count: Dam's fate likely to be decided by result

by Alaska Highway News

May 19, 2017

With the fate of the B.C. government up in the air until May 24, Ken and Arlene Boon are among the anxious voters waiting for the final outcome to be announced. The Boons have become the face of local opposition to the Site C dam project, and currently live in the shadow of the its proposed reservoir and looming Highway 29 realignment that will cut through most of their former property.

They, as with every other British Columbian, await the results of 176,000 absentee ballots that won’t begin to be counted until May 22 and recounts in the Courtenay-Comox (NDP) and Vancouver-False Creek (Liberal) ridings—results that will more than likely determine what party will form the next government and have huge implications for the future of Site C.

Based on the initial vote count, which include advance and general ballots, the BC Liberals lead with 43 seats, the NDP hold 41 and the Greens have three.

“It couldn’t have been closer,” Ken Boon said.

“So here we are, waiting two weeks past the election to find out exactly what we do end up with for a government.”

A BC Liberal win will guarantee the dam’s continued construction under Christy Clark, while John Horgan’s NDP have pledged to expedite a utilities commission review to examine the economics of the $8.8-billion project. The Greens, who currently hold the balance of power in a minority government, want the project killed entirely.

Boon says he has already written letters to both NDP leader Horgan and Green leader Andrew Weaver to make them “aware of the situation on the ground.”

The Boons, whose property at Bear Flat was expropriated by BC Hydro in December, have until May 31 to move from their home for Highway 29 realignment, which is slated to run through their house and campground.

It’s a tight timeline for the family and their neighbours, Boon said. Boon says he is working with his lawyers on a possible extension while the final vote, and potential review, take place.

“It’s silly to move out while so much is up in the air,” Boon said, noting a tender for construction has yet to be issued.

In the meantime, he views the election as a rejection of Christy Clark and the BC Liberal government. Combined, more people voted for the NDP and Greens, he noted. While the Liberals captured 735,276 votes, the NDP captured 717,097 while the Greens captured 301,231 province-wide.

“That’s important to keep in mind, whatever shape our government takes moving forward,” he said.

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