A 93-square-kilometre artificial lake is bound to drown the best topsoil left in northern B.C. when a 60-metre-high wall of compacted earth will stretch more than a kilometre across the main stem of the Peace River. Farmers, ranchers, trappers and habitat to innumerable creatures big and small will lose their homes as a result. To witness the first steps of construction for the most expensive infrastructure project in B.C. history, Christopher Pollon and photojournalist Ben Nelms paddled through the section of the river that will be destroyed by the Site C dam reservoir. By touring the same stretch by land they interviewed locals who stand to lose everything, a prosperous home to people for over eleven thousand years. The Peace in Peril (Harbour 2016) tells the story of the trade-off of hydro power for resources like timber and farmland. It was longlisted for the George Ryga Award for Social Awareness in 2017.
The Peace in Peril (Harbour Publishing 2016) $24.95, 978-1-55017-780-0. Photos by Ben Nelms.