Nestled in the Peace River Valley in northeast British Columbia, almost 900 workers continue construction on BC Hydro’s Site C megadam project, which will generate enough energy to power about 450,000 houses per year after its scheduled completion in 2025.
BC Hydro has pushed for the dam despite a slew of controversies over its high greenhouse gas emissions and alleged disregard for wildlife habitat and First Nations hunting sites.
Development has had to scale back considerably amid the looming threat of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), BC Hydro said, but hundreds of industry workers are still on the ground doing “critical” jobs, like building tunnels and installing spillway gates.
Now, after Site C reported that several of its workers fell ill with cold- and flu-like symptoms, a dozen of those workers are in quarantine, following the advice of public health officials who are urging Canadians with COVID-19 symptoms to limit their exposure to others.
News of the sick workers reached settler and Indigenous communities both near and far, and people are worried COVID-19 could eventually spread fast if development sites aren’t shut down immediately.