A new Abacus Data poll shows that a large majority of residents of British Columbia support or say they can accept BC Hydro’s Site C Clean Energy Project, which began construction last year.
The province-wide poll found:
• Awareness of the Site C project has reached a new high of 77% across the province and is stable at 90% in the north/northeast region.
• Across the province 73% either support Site C (49%) or can support it under certain circumstances (24%), while 25% oppose the project.
• In the north/northeast region of the province, 69% of those surveyed either support building Site C (47%) or can accept it under certain circumstances (22%), while 26% oppose the project.
Public inclination to support the project is tied to a broad view that the province will need more power in the future (89%) and that a new hydro electric dam is one of the better ways to generate that power.
Support for this project is also dependent on public confidence that parallel efforts are made to promote conservation, that the project goes through a thorough and independent environmental review, and that efforts are made to listen and respond to local impact concerns.
Majorities of those surveyed continue to feel that these conditions are being met as this project has moved forward.
According to Bruce Anderson, Chairman of Abacus Data, who designed and analyzed the poll:
“Any major project of this sort will encounter healthy public scrutiny and debate, and it’s not unusual to see growing resistance as these debates evolve. Given this, what stands out for me is the fact that people broadly believe that more power will be needed and that a new dam is probably one of the best ways to meet growing demand.
It’s not that people don’t have any anxieties about the impacts of this project, but that a better alternative is not obvious, and a certain degree of comfort has developed that this project is being handled with appropriate diligence.”
The province-wide telephone poll of 1,000 people took place from April 15 to 24, 2016. The margin of error for the study in the province-wide sample is 3.1 per cent.