BC Hydro has ordered two of its loudest critics to abandon their third-generation family farm by the end of the year, even though the company’s plans for the $8.8-billion Site C dam don’t call for the land to be flooded until 2024.
“It was a shocker,” said farmer Ken Boon, president of the 70-member Peace Valley Landowners Association, which is challenging the project in court. “We didn’t know they wanted us out by Christmas.”
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“As a property owner, you don’t have any rights,” adds Arlene Boon. “We are being forced off. When you are not a willing seller, you’re being forced to put a price on something [that] is not for sale and in your mind would never be for sale.”
BC Hydro says it must begin work in 2017 on a two-year project to “realign” Highway 29 away from the Site C flood zone, DeSmog reports. “For reasons that have never been explained to the Boons’ satisfaction, BC Hydro intends to route the new highway right through the couples’ farm buildings and home. The highway would also destroy a renovated log house where Arlene’s 81-year-old mother lives.”
Former Peace River Regional District Director Arthur Hadland said he believed the Boons are being targeted for their outspoken opposition to Site C. “It’s divide and conquer,” he told DeSmog. “The landowners have been a pretty solid group. But just like any organization, if you cut the head off, you will lose the power.”
BC Hydro spokesperson Dave Conway said the company has legal authority to expropriate, “but that’s not the way we like to work. We like to come to a negotiated settlement with people.” The Boons consider their land priceless for reasons beyond its monetary value.
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