UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Public policy and hydroelectric development in the Canadian North : the case of the Snare Forks Project Helfinger, B. Michael (Bruno Michael) 1981

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PUBLIC POLICY AND HYDROELECTRIC DEVELOPMENT IN THE CANADIAN NORTH THE CASE OF THE SNARE FORKS PROJECT by B. MICHAEL HELFINGER B.A., Univ e r s i t y of Waterloo, 1978 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS i n THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES (Department of P o l i t i c a l Science) We accept t h i s thesis as conforming to the required standard THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA January 1981 B. Michael Helfinger In presenting this thesis in part ia l fulfi l lment of the requirement for an advanced degree at the University of Br i t i sh Columbia, I agree that the Library shal l make i t freely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensive copying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the Head of my department or by his representatives. It is understood that copying or publication of this thesis for f inancial gain shal l not be allowed without my written permission. Department of P o l i t i c a l Science University of Br i t i sh Columbia 2075 Wesbrook Place Vancouver, B . C . , Canada January 5, 1981 ABSTRACT This study of the Snare Forks h y d r o e l e c t r i c development i n the Northwest T e r r i t o r i e s has.] two basic objectives. The f i r s t i s to provide a c r i t i c a l assessment of the i n s t i t u t i o n a l framework (both s t r u c t u r a l and pro-cedural) within which resource planning decisions are taken i n the Canadian North, with reference to the c i r t e r i a of 1) democratic a c c o u n t a b i l i t y , and 2) technical and economic e f f i c i e n c y . The second objective i s to suggest ( i f shortcomings i n i n s t i t u t i o n a l design are found) means of upgrading structures and procedures to conform with the normative c r i t e r i a . The Snare Forks (or S t r u t t Lake) h y d r o e l e c t r i c development was f i r s t conceived during 1971, when the Northern Canada Power Commission (NCPC) began to consider construction of a t h i r d hydro dam on the Snare River, which flows into the north arm of Great Slave Lake, to meet the growing demands of the C i t y of Yellowknife and adjacent mining operations, 130 kilometres to the southwest. A water use l i c e n c e , required under the Northern Inland Waters Act, was obtained by NCPC a f t e r one public hearing before the Northwest T e r r i t o r i e s Water Board i n February 1974. Construction commenced during the spring of that year. However, sh o r t l y afterwards the commission was n o t i f i e d of a mining claim e x i s t i n g within the area designated to be flooded. It also became evident that bedrock and permafrost conditions at the s i t e would not support the dyke structures. In September, 1974, the commission decided to relocate the dam 1.4 kilometres downstream, away from the mining claim area, and at a lower eleva-t i o n (173.5 m above sea l e v e l , as opposed to 183m), to eliminate the need for dyking on permafrost. Peak power output was thus reduced from 14 megawatts to 9.6 megawatts. i i i An amendment to the original water licence fac i l i ta t ing the design changes was approved by the Water Board in March, 1975. This was done without the normally required (under NIWA) public hearings, as the Board ruled that an emergency existed. It was not unt i l after the amendment was approved that a press release was issued revealing the construction problems to the general public. The Snare Forks plant was commissioned in November, 1976, one year behind schedule. The f ina l cost of the project was $27.1 mi l l i on , as opposed to the or ig inal estimate of $14.1 mi l l ion . As a consequence of the Snare Forks cost overruns, e lectric power rates in Yellowknife and other Northwest T e r r i -tories communities were immediately raised by as much as ninety per cent. The account of the Snare Forks job history and planning process i s based almost entirely on primary sources, including documents and correspondence of the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, Environment Canada, the Northern Canada Power Commission, and the Northwest Territories Water Board. The c r i t e r i a against which the decision-making system is assessed are derived from the survey of the leading contemporary l i terature on public administration and organizational behaviour, with an attempt to relate the theories thus obtained to the conditions prevalent in the Canadian North. It appears that circumstances over which decision-makers concerned had no direct control, part icularly inf lat ion and adverse weather conditions during construction, contributed in a major way to cost overruns. However, a review of the administrative and planning process reveals a fa i lure by NCPC to adequately take into account poss ib i l i t i e s regarding design and scheduling, as well as a closed, secretive decision-making process that effectively excluded local community interests. The fa i lure of existing inst i tut ional mechanisms to iv prevent serious conceptual flaws in a public project and secrecy in decision-making gave rise to a widespread sense of alienation and mistrust among Snare system consumers in the aftermath of the project. At the same time, the pro-ject history points to a number of social and economic conditions present in the North that act as barriers to the attainment of optimal levels of demo-crat ic accountability and technical/economic efficiency in decision-making; and cannot be fu l ly addressed by any set of inst i tut ional prescriptions. J v TABLE OF CONTENTS Abstract i i Acknowledgements v i i i Chapter One - Conceptual Framework 1. Introduction 1 2. Objectives of the Thesis 3 3. Normative Cr i t er ia 3 i) Accountability: Competing Definitions 4 i i ) Efficiency 9 i i i ) Accountability vs. Efficiency 11 4. Special Problems of Decision-Making in the Canadian North . . . 12 5. Methodology 16 Chapter Two - Background 1. The Institutional Framework: Introduction to Actors 22 i) Northern Canada Power Commission 22 i i ) The Northern Inland Waters Act 28 i i i ) The Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development 32 iv) Interest Groups in the Northwest Territories 33 2. Physical Characteristics of the Project Area 35 3. Development of the Snare/Yellowknife System 1946-70 36 Chapter Three - The Planning Process 1. Development of the Snare Forks Project 40 i) Load Forecasts: Determination of the Need for System Expansion 40 i i ) Consideration of Alternatives 41 i i i ) F ir s t Project Proposal 45 iv) Site Investigation and Presentation of Alternative Schemes 46 v) Site Conditions and Structural Design Problems . . . . 52 2. Environmental Impact 55 3. Licence Application and Public Hearing 60 4. Issuance of Licence 66 5. Summary 67 Chapter Four - Construction 1. Beginning of Construction 74 2. The Mining Claim 75 3. Structural Problems 78 4. Decision to Relocate 79 5. Application for Licence Amendment 81 v i 6. Description of Revised Scheme 84 i) Dams 84 i i ) Spillway . 84 i i i ) Intake 85 iv) Penstocks 85 v) Powerhouse 85 vi) Estimated Cost . . 86 7. Completion of Construction 86 8. The Snare Cascades Proposal 88 i) Licence Application Process 88 i i ) Description 88 9. Cost Overruns: Origins and Consequences 89 10. Summary 95 Chapter Five - Conclusion 1. Summary of Problems 101 2. Review of Decision-Making Process: Efficiency 104 3. Review of Decision-Making Process: Accountability 106 Bibliography 115 Appendix A - Location Maps 119 Appendix B - Schematic Drawings - Alternative Proposals . . 122 Appendix C - Schematic Drawings - Snare Forks Proposal 127 LIST OF FIGURES v i i Figure 1: Sketch Map of Snare System Showing Alternative Proposed Damsites . 51 v i i i ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS This thesis would not have been possible without the support, guidance, and thoughtful criticisms of Professor Irving K. Fox of the Westwater Research Centre, U . B . C , to whom I must express my sincere gratitude. Special thanks must also be extended to Professor Keith Banting of the Department of P o l i t i c a l Science, who offered invaluable guidance, cri t ic isms, and encouragement, part icularly during the latter stages of the work. F ina l ly , I must acknowledge the assistance of a number of government of f ic ia l s who gave freely of their valuable time, part icularly Allan H. Jones and Arthur G. Redshaw of DLAND, and C A . Lewis of Environment Canada. 1 CHAPTER ONE CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK 1. Introduction The public power movement, which rose to prominence in Canada and certain regions of the United States during the early decades of this century, grew around the premise that only state-operated power enterprises could be truly responsive to public needs and provide the cheap and abundant e l ec tr ica l power required for industrial expansion. This assumption gave rise to the formation of the Ontario Hydro-Electric Power Commission in 1911^ " and, later , Manitoba Hydro, Br i t i sh Columbia Hydro, Hydro-Quebec and other public power u t i l i t i e s in Canada. The movement was less active and widespread in the United States, but succeeded in bringing about the establishment of public power agencies in a number of regions, most notably the Tennessee Valley Authority in the 1930's. 2 In recent years, the public power industry in Canada has fa l len under increasing scrutiny, the conviction growing in many quarters that i t has not been l iv ing up to i t s i n i t i a l purpose and expectations. The definit ion of this purpose has been complicated over the past two decades by the growth of environ-mental concerns, which often run counter to the objectives of economic efficiency.and promotion of industr ial expansion. This trend towards reassess-ment of the role of public power and the direction of e lec tr ica l energy planning has been reflected in the 1977 appointment of a Royal Commission to review the structure and act iv i t i es of Ontario Hydro, the completion of a similar inquiry into the state of Manitoba Hydro, and the 1979 presentation of the Report of the Legislative Committee on Crown Corporations in Br i t i sh Columbia concerning the Columbia Treaty Projects and planned B.C. Hydro expansion. 2 This concern has also touched the act iv i t ies of a somewhat smaller public power enterprise, the Northern Canada Power Commission (NCPC), a federal Crown corporation established in 1948 for the purpose of generating e lec tr ica l power in the regions north of the s ixt ieth p a r a l l e l . The Commission came under some cr i t ic i sm as early as the mid-1960's for i t s handling of the 3 Taltson River development. During the early 1970's, NCPC ran into costly d i f f i cu l t i e s with i t s Aishihik hydro-electric project in the Yukon Territory. Here, the Commission's inab i l i ty to obtain i n i t i a l approval for i t s proposal from the t e r r i t o r i a l Water Board resulted in lengthy delays, a crash construction program, and costs tota l l ing $39 mi l l ion as opposed to the original estimate of $17 mi l l ion .^ A short time later, in 1974, the Commission again encountered project d i f f i cu l t i e s , this time relating to the Snare Forks (or Strutt Lake)^ develop-ment in the Northwest Terr i tor ies . Here the administrative process worked more smoothly, with approval being obtained from the Water Board after on public hearing, at which only minimal opposition was encountered from local groups. However, the discovery that the ground at the s i te would not support the dyke structures due to permafrost and bedrock conditions, coinciding with the belated revelation of a mining claim within the area of the proposed reservoir, forced the relocation of the dam 1.4 kilometres downstream form the original s i te . This move resulted in a reduction of available head by nine metres, with a consequent loss in power output (9.6 MW peak as opposed to 14 MW). The f ina l cost of the project was $27,136,000,^ far exceeding the or ig inal estimate of $ 1 4 , 0 8 5 , 0 0 0 , ° the cost overruns being forwarded to consumers in the form of 9 rate increases of up to ninety per cent. Cases such as Snare Forks, and the act iv i t ies of the Northern Canada Power Commission in general, are of interest for a couple of reasons. Because 3 NCPC operates on a r e l a t i v e l y small scale, an examination of i t s a c t i v i t i e s allows us to study i n microcosm the workings of public u t i l i t i e s , as w e l l as other autonomous public agencies and state-owned enterprises, and the p o l i t i c a l and administrative problems involved. More important, such case studies shed l i g h t on the s p e c i f i c problems faced by decision-makers i n the northern environment. 2. Objectives of the Thesis Our e s s e n t i a l purpose i s to provide a c r i t i c a l analysis of the i n s t i t u t i o n a l framework of decision-making i n the Canadian North, as i t r e l a t e s to problems of economic development and resource management i n general and to e l e c t r i c a l energy planning i n p a r t i c u l a r . The relevant structures and pro-cedures w i l l be examined on the basis of two normative c r i t e r i a , A ccountability (the extent to which decisions and processes conform to generally accepted l i b e r a l democratic p r i n c i p l e s ) , and E f f i c i e n c y , (the extent to which the i n -s t i t u t i o n a l design promotes t e c h n i c a l l y well-conceived developments, e f f i c i e n t use of public funds, and protection of the northern environment). If we uncover shortcomings i n the i n s t i t u t i o n a l framework, we w i l l want to formulate recommen-dations as to how the system can be upgraded to conform with the above c r i t e r i a of judgment. D i f f e r i n g ideas e x i s t as to how these normative goals i n public admin-i s t r a t i o n are best attained — the competing concepts w i l l be spelled out below. Upon examination, we w i l l want to assess t h e i r relevance to the p a r t i c u l a r conditions of the Canadian North., and base our recommendations and conclusions on the model(s) which best s u i t those conditions. 3. Normative C r i t e r i a D i f f e r i n g bases e x i s t for assessing the d e s i r a b i l i t y of outcomes of decision-making processes, as well as opposing concepts regarding the kinds of 4 structures and procedures that best promote desirable outcomes. These w i l l be discussed below. i) Accountability - Competing Definitions For our purposes, Accountability, as i t relates to public administra-tion may be defined in a broad sense as the extent to which decision-makers are held responsible for their actions before the public, the extent to which decisions may be influenced in a meaningful way by the members of the public affected (either direct ly or through their elected representatives), and the extent to which this influence is reflective of the existing spectrum of needs and opinions in society. In other words, i t w i l l be used to denote the degree to which decision processes adhere to generally accepted l i b e r a l democratic norms. Accountability is a crucial issue in the study of public administra-tion because, as Anthony Downs has noted, bureaucratic organizations are d is -tinguished from non-bureaucratic organizations by the fact that individuals belonging to the former have "no direct way of evaluating their outputs in relation to the costs of the inputs used to make them.""^ Executives in firms operating in the free market, for example, are held accountable by the discipl ine of the marketplace; elected pol i t ic ians by periodic elections. Public and private monopolies (including u t i l i t i e s ) , and governmental bureaucracies, are subject to neither. This necessitates the establishment of mechanisms for regulation and control of the act iv i t ies of governmental bureaucracies and monopolies, but disagreement exists among theorists as to what form i s most effective. The concept of accountability may be more narrowly defined in majori-tarian or p lura l i s t terms. The majoritarian view holds that the interests of the polity as a whole constitute the only legitimate basis for the formulation of public policy, and hence social conflicts should be resolved within the 5 p o l i t i c a l arena. Mechanisms for the s p e c i a l representation of group or minority i n t e r e s t s , either formal or informal, are rejected or discouraged. The majori-t a r i a n view i s rooted i n c l a s s i c a l theories of democratic representative government, which emerged as l i b e r a l t h e o r i s t s jchallenged the remnants of the class-based feudal concept of s o c i a l and p o l i t i c a l organization. The maintenance of s t r i c t p o l i t i c a l c ontrol over public p o l i c y necessitates a h i e r a r c h i c a l and c e n t r a l i z e d administrative structure i n order to sharply focus r e s p o n s i b i l i t y to f a c i l i t a t e s c r u t i n y and c o n t r o l by p o l i t i c a l a u t h o r i t i e s , as well as to r e s t r i c t the power of i n d i v i d u a l bureaucrats to s t r i k e independent bargains regarding p o l i c y . This notion i s r e f l e c t e d i n the c l a s s i c a l theories of bureaucratic administration of Hegel, Weber and Woodrow Wilson. The p l u r a l i s t d e f i n i t i o n of a c c o u n t a b i l i t y , on the other hand, encompasses a need for some group or f u n c t i o n a l basis for representation i n l i b e r a l democratic s o c i e t i e s . I t denies the existence of any s i n g l e d e f i n i t i o n of the "common good", and maintains the need for alternate channels of input, so that minority i n t e r e s t s may be protected from majority tyranny. Thus, p o l i c y -making i s seen as being i d e a l l y based on concensus among groups rather than any simple majority impulse. Consequently, the bureaucracy takes on policy-making, as opposed to a purely administrative function, as administrators are charged with s t r i k i n g an acceptable "balance" between the various i n t e r e s t groups affected by a given p o l i c y issue. P l u r a l i s t theory emerged around the turn of the century as an i n t e l l e c t u a l response to the r i s e of trade unions and business associations, and the beginnings of an a c t i v i s t state r o l e i n economic l i f e . As the tasks and volumes of information handled by governments grew, i t became in c r e a s i n g l y expedient to pass delegated l e g i s l a t i o n extending to c i v i l servants and autono-mous boards and commissions the authority to formulate p o l i c y . The emerging functional associations thus became increasingly incl ined to deal direct ly with the bureaucracy. The c lass ical p lura l i s t models of government and administra-tion envisioned the state as an impartial arbitrator among equal, competing interests. These interests were seen as spontaneous entit ies which mobilized whenever their constituents perceived something to be gained in terms of public 12 goods through organized action. In this sense, i t was highly reflective of the free-market ideology that s t i l l dominated economic thought at the time. The c lass ica l p lura l i s t model has been challenged from two main standpoints. The f i r s t is that of those who c a l l for a return to majoritarian models of democracy and public administration, claiming that p lura l i s t structures encourage p o l i t i c a l bargains struck within the bureaucracy, and thus obscured from public view, which bear l i t t l e relation to existing intensit ies of pre-ference among the public. Gordon Tullock warns of the dangers of "bureaucratic 13 free enterprise", based on "multiple sovereigns", the lat ter term alluding to the medieval corporate state with i t s multiple branches of social organization. 14 Edwin Haefele applies similar concepts to questions of resource management policy in the United States. Orthodox p lura l i s t assumptions have also been called into question by later p lura l i s t thinkers who have noted a tendency of market mechanisms, when left to themselves, to render certain groups within society more equal than others. Mancur Olson observes that free-market forces tend to promote the organization of small, privileged "exclusive" groups (such as business and professional organizations) and to work against the mobilization of larger, less privileged groups, or "inclusive" interests (such as consumers or unorganized labour). He elaborates: F i r s t , the larger the group, the smaller the fraction of the total group benefit any person acting in the group interest receives, and the less adequate the reward for any group-oriented action. Second (the larger the group), the less the l ikel ihood that any small subset of the group, much less any s i n g l e i n d i v i d u a l , w i l l gain enough from getting the c o l l e c t i v e good to bear the burden of providing even a small amount of i t . Third, the larger the number of members i n the group, the greater the organization costs, and thus the higher the hurdle that must be jumped before any of the c o l l e c t i v e good can be obtained.15 Even when organized, " i n c l u s i v e " i n t e r e s t s face d i f f i c u l t y i n gener-ating the resources and gaining the access to decision-makers required to compete on an equal basis with exclusive i n t e r e s t s within administrative processes, and equally important, i n conceptualizing choices ( i . e . formulating v i a b l e p o l i c y 16 a l t e r n a t i v e s ) . Some have sought to address t h i s problem by c a l l i n g f or sub-s i d i z a t i o n of pressure groups representing d i f f u s e i n t e r e s t , " ^ as w e l l as t h e i r d i r e c t representation w i t h i n the administrative s t r u c t u r e . Olson questions this type of approach on the basis that i t assumes a spontaneous theory of group 18 behaviour. Nonetheless, he sees a need for re-ordering governmental and administrative structures so as to correspond more c l o s e l y to the needs of the p a r t i c u l a r c l i e n t e l e that derive the greatest net b e n e f i t from given p u b l i c goods. Vincent Ostrom argues that both "multiple sovereigns" and "bureau-c r a t i c free e n t e r p r i s e " are necessary conditions of, rather than hindrances to, democratic a c c o u n t a b i l i t y i n p u b l i c administration. Structures based on a c c o u n t a b i l i t y to a s i n g l e centre of power, he holds, give r i s e to m i s a l l o c a t i o n of public goods (unsound p o l i c i e s ) , as they are incapable of responding to diverse needs and preferences i n society. Furthermore, he maintains that independent p o l i c y i n i t i a t i v e s by c i v i l servants can perform a c r i t i c a l function 20 i n checking abuses of power or poor judgements by elected o f f i c i a l s . The m a j o r i t a r i a n and p l u r a l i s t viewpoints lend themselves to d i f f e r i n g ideas on the proper j u r i s d i c t i o n a l d i v i s i o n of power wit h i n f e d e r a l systems. Adherents of the majoritarian view tend to favour a c l e a r d e l i n e a t i o n of r e s p o n s i b i l i t i e s between l e v e l s of government, and to oppose overlapping j u r i s -8 dictions and power-sharing arrangements as the latter necessarily involves p o l i t i c a l bargaining at the bureaucratic level , removed from the direct control of elected representatives. This concept finds a number of expressions in different models of federalism. At one extreme l ies the central ist model, which in the Canadian context has been described as follows: At the heart of this concept is the notion that the whole of the Canadian people constitute the only legitimate source of sovereign authority and that a government enjoying the support of a Canadian majority must be supreme over a l l governments.21 At the other extreme is what in Canada has been referred to as the Compact Theory, which holds that every regional unit of government i s absolutely sovereign within i ts own jur i sd ic t ion , and that the central government owes i t s 22 legitimacy to the regional governments. Thus, the balance of power is seen as being ideally weighted in favour of the regional units, as these are seen to be responsive to diverse needs (defined on a t e r r i t o r i a l basis) and more amenable to control through the bal lot box. On this basis, a number of administrative theorists, such as Tullock and Haefele, have argued for a devolution of authority 23 in the United States to state governments. In between l i e models of true federalism, based on an equable dis-tribution of power between levels of government. Class ical or coordinate federalism is characterized by a. clear definit ion of responsibi l i t ies , with each level of government sovereign within i t s own jur i sd ic t ion , in keeping with majoritarian p r i n c i p l e s . ^ Administrative, or Executive federalism, on the other hand, involves collaboration between national and regional governments on matters deemed to be of in ter- jur i sd ic t ional concern. It reflects p lura l i s t ideas in that i t en-visions different levels of government acting as checks on each other's power within areas of mutual concern, and in seeing a need for federal institutions 25 to reflect functional as well as t e r r i t o r i a l interests. 9 In our analysis, we w i l l use the above models as guidelines i n d i s -cussing how e x i s t i n g structures and procedures influenced outcomes i n t h i s case, and how a l t e r n a t i v e structures might have produced d i f f e r e n t r e s u l t s . In p a r t i c u l a r , we are concerned with whether e x i s t i n g i n s t i t u t i o n a l arrangements promoted democratic control over decision-making that was r e f l e c t i v e of the e x i s t i n g spectrum of affected i n t e r e s t s , both on a socioeconomic and on a j u r i s d i c t i o n a l dimension. i i ) E f f i c i e n c y E f f i c i e n c y , or R a t i o n a l i t y , as i t r e l a t e s to administrative behaviour, may be defined as the degree to which the actions of decision-makers maximize a 26 given set of values or goals i n a given s i t u a t i o n . Disagreement ex i s t s among theori s t s concerning the scope of r a t i o n a l i t y decision-makers should be expected to aspire to. Two basic opposing concepts e x i s t , "pure r a t i o n a l i t y " and "bounded r a t i o n a l i t y " . The "pure r a t i o n a l i t y " approach to solving problems involves a process of l o g i c a l deductive reasoning and c a l c u l a t i o n i n four independent and sequential steps: Goal s e t t i n g (defining a complete set of ends), P r e d i c t i o n (considering a l l possible outcomes against the i n d i v i d u a l ' s values or p r i o r i t i e s ) , Valuation (the establishment of a scale of d e s i r a b i l i t y f o r a l l the various possible r e s u l t s ) , and f i n a l l y , Decision ( s e l e c t i o n of the course of a c t i o n with the 27 highest net expectation). As an a l t e r n a t i v e , Herbert Simon presents the concept of "bounded r a t i o n a l i t y " . Decision-makers, according to Simon, by nature s t r i v e to avoid uncertainty, and hence tend to concentrate on short-run objectives rather than to formulate comprehensive long-range plans which involve b e t t i n g on the future. Rather than considering a l l possible a l t e r n a t i v e s and s e l e c t i n g the ones with the most desirable consequences, the administrator w i l l search for an a l t e r n a t i v e that meets a c e r t a i n acceptable a s p i r a t i o n l e v e l . Man, i n Simon's words, i s a 28 " s a t i s f i c i n g " rather than an "maximizing" animal. Downs l i s t s four general l i m i t a t i o n s on human decision-making c a p a c i t i e s : 1) Each decision-maker can only devote a l i m i t e d amount of time to each p a r t i c u l a r problem. 2) Each decision-maker can mentally assess and consider only a l i m i t e d volume of information at one given time. 3) The functions of most o f f i c i a l s require them to become involved i n more a c t i v i t i e s than they can consider simultaneously; hence they must focus t h e i r a t t e n t i o n on only part of t h e i r major concerns. 4) Every decision-maker has access to only a small portion of the information a v a i l a b l e regarding each problem.29 Charles E. Lindblom applies the above concepts to questions of s o c i a l 30 p o l i c y , through h i s theory of " d i s j o i n t e d incrementalism", which he also 31 refe r s to as "the science of muddling through". Experience with d i f f e r e n t p o l i c i e s , he argues, r e s u l t s i n changes i n objectives. Lindblom adds a norma-t i v e dimension to Simon's behavioural a n a l y s i s . Not only does he describe an observed tendency f o r s o c i a l p o l i c y to evolve on a piecemeal b a s i s , f a l l i n g short of any comprehensive, Utopian v i s i o n , he o f f e r s i t as a model for decision-makers to s t r i v e to follow. He l i s t s three immediate advantages to such an approach to problem-solving. F i r s t , i t "concentrates the policy-maker's analysis on f a m i l i a r , better-known experiences," secondly, i t "sharply reduces the number of d i f f e r e n t a l t e r n a t i v e p o l i c i e s to be explored," and t h i r d l y , i t 32 "sharply reduces the number of complexity of factors he has to analyze." These l i m i t a t i o n s are not u n i v e r s a l l y accepted by modern scholars of public administration. Yehezkel Dror, i n a c r i t i q u e of Lindblom's model, argues that such l i m i t e d - r a t i o n a l i t y theories are merely i n t e l l e c t u a l j u s t i f i c a t i o n s for bureaucratic i n e r t i a and p o l i t i c a l immobilism. Even i n the most stable s o c i e t i e s , Dror maintains, changing s o c i a l and economic conditions may from time to time create needs for r a d i c a l departures from precedent and comprehen-sive, long-range v i s i o n . Under such circumstances, incrementalist approaches can and do r e s u l t i n public p o l i c y that lags behind r e a l i t i e s , according to Dror. Consequently, he proposes an alternative model of decision-making that incorporates elements of both the l imited-rat ional i ty and pure-rationality concepts. The principal features of this model are, 1) identi f icat ion of values and broad objectives, 2) identif icat ion of existing alternatives, followed by an effort to formulate new alternatives, 3) preliminary projection of possible outcomes, followed by a choice between a minimal-risk strategy or a creative policy, depending on assessment of the s ituation, 4 ) i f the latter course is chosen, selection of the alternative with the optimal long-range projected outcome, 5) further assessment of conditions, to determine whether more comprehensive analysis is required, 6) reliance on a mixture of theory, experience, rat ional i ty and extrarationality, the composition depending on the nature of the problem, and 7) ongoing efforts to upgrade the quality of decision-making through stimulation of i n i t i a t i v e , creativity and other improve-33 ments in the quality of human and technical resources. In summary, we may say that while certain important limitations on rat ional i ty exist which no organizational framework can overcome completely, decision-making structures and processes are, as Simon has pointed out, major influences on administrative behaviour and performance, and thus can have a bearing on the l ikelihood of optimum efficiency being attained. One of our c r i t e r i a , then, in assessing the effectiveness of the structural and procedural framework for hydroelectric power planning and development in the North, is the extent to which this framework maximizes the probability of economically and technically desirable outcomes. i i i ) Accountability vs. Efficiency As we have seen, the effectiveness of decision-making structures and procedures may be measured either in terms of conformity to l i b e r a l democratic principles (accountability) or in terms of conformity to a given set of long-term or short-term technical or economic goals (efficiency). It follows, then, 12 that the two c r i t e r i a may come into direct confl ict with one another. For example, economic efficiency w i l l tend to dictate a rapid pace of development, which w i l l often allow events and/or important details to escape the attention of the public and i ts elected representatives (particularly i f the development, l ike many northern projects, is not highly v i s ib le and does not generate immediate widespread publ ic i ty) . According to the Science Council of Canada Committee on Northern Development: A fast pace of development tends to leave peripheral actors [diffuse affected interests] outside the decision-making process. It may also lead to inadequate assessments, par-t i cu lar ly those related to environmental and social impacts. Enlightened decision-making thus becomes more d i f f i c u l t . Thus, a rapid pace of development which i s desirable to core actors [developers and government;] may not necessarily be appropriate for the supporting actors charged with under-taking meaningful assessment studies or to affected parties who must adapt to what they see as excessively rapid social change.34 If goals focus on long-term rather than short-term efficiency, i t may be argued that a slower rate of development might be beneficial and that i t could allow outside expertise to be brought into play and result in a better-conceived project. On the other hand, i t could also impair long-term efficiency by compromising technical goals with p o l i t i c a l or social considerations. In the conclusion to our case study, we w i l l discuss the trade-offs involved as they relate to Snare Forks. We w i l l not, however, invoke any formula or mathematical model (such as, for example, the Pareto Scale), in attempting to define in precise terms any optimal "balance" between the two c r i t e r i a . 4. Special Problems of Decision-Making in the Canadian North Conditions in underdeveloped and peripheral areas within industrial societies (such as the Canadian North) tend to sharpen constraints on decision-making rat ional i ty and undermine accountability. Administrative bodies, and, 13 to a greater extent, the publics they serve, are deprived of the f inancial , technical and human resources required to function effectively within the decision-making process. The situation is summarized in the following excerpt from an Environment Canada internal memorandum concerning the operation of the Northwest Territories Water Board: In the Northwest Terr i tor ies , the public which the Board must serve does not conform well to the classic models of a democratic state: there is an extremely small number of private freehold landowners (almost a l l the land is Crown-owned) - a large proportion of the population cannot be personally involved in any public hearings because of remoteness or language d i f f i cu l t i e s - there is a paucity of ' local residents' at most sites proposed for development. In addition, there is generally a lack of conventional sc ient i f ic knowledge about the resources and areas l i k e l y to be proposed for development, and such knowledge i s generally confined to a few people, predominantly employed by the development agencies and government. The body of tradit ional native knowledge about these areas and resources is re lat ive ly d i f f i c u l t for the Board to acquire and l ike ly to be weighted in favour of the "exclusive" interests (in the North, the resource development companies and local entrepreneurs). This tendency has also been noted in the behaviour of autonomous public agencies in peripheral and underdeveloped areas in general. Phi l ip Selznick noted that the local cl ientele of the TVA came to be dominated by the more prosperous white farmers of the region, with the poor whites and blacks often being effectively excluded 36 from the decision-making process. Some have pointed to a para l l e l situation in the Canadian North, regarding the relationship between NCPC and the mining interests (see the account of the Taltson River/Pine Point development in 37 Chapter 2). This pattern i s , i f anything, consistent with the history of the public power movement, whose leadership came to a large extent from business interests in underdeveloped or newly industrial iz ing areas, who were concerned Under such circumstances, decision-making processes are even more 14 primarily with the provision of infra-structure for industrial and/or agricul -tural expansion, rather than cheap power for the masses. It is perhaps significant that the federal government's f i r s t venture into hydroelectric development in the North was designed primarily to supply a mine rather than household users. (See Chapter Two, Section 1.) In the North, industry maintains a dist inct advantage through access to information. According to one group of observers: The information network also appears to be a major issue. Industry uses an informal network to circumvent the publicly v i s ib le network and is constantly seeking out key government people to tap . . .These informal l iaisons give industry a 'competitive' edge on other actors. Many actors who should have access are excluded. Industry and DINA have 'regularized' informal contacts and share information which i s unavailable to environmentalists, nature groups, and other actors.38 In the Northwest Terr i tor ies , the issue i s not simply one of the general population against big business, but also one of the general population against the government. Because of the high prof i le the federal government maintains in the North (.through the. Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, i t has complete control over resources in the Terr i tor ies ) , against a small population lacking in technical expertise, f inancial resources, and p o l i t i c a l leverage (the Yukon and the Northwest Territories account for only three seats in the House of Commons, and thus the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, unlike, for example, the United States Department of the Interior, does not have a substantial constituency to which i t is p o l i t i -cal ly responsible) , i t i s almost impossible for the average c i t izen to face the planners and technocrats on equal terms. William Macleod, dealing with water management policy in the North, writes: With the small population base in the North, the lack of expertise in the general public, and the d i f f i cu l ty of communication, i t is hard to maintain an independent c r i t i c a l voice in the face of such developments, without government support. There is a real danger that decisions w i l l be taken after a 'snow job' leaving disillusionment, mistrust, and, perhaps, an i l l -conceived project.39 15 Differing ideas exist as to how to maintain democratic accountability in northern administration in the face of these conditions. One school of thought argues for strengthened Parliamentary control over the administration of northern development. Only the central p o l i t i c a l authority, i t i s maintained, can provide the support needed by native and environmental groups against the business interests and bureaucratic planners who dominate the decision-making process. According to one c r i t i c of the existing inst i tut ional framework: If the implementation of policy escapes the scrutiny of Parliament, c i v i l servants w i l l tend to prescribe bureau-cratic answers to the p o l i t i c a l and constitutional problems that arise. For example, the fai lure to exercise supervision over water resource management has led the bureaucracy to recommend that various competing public interests be inst i tut ional ized on the Water Board. Thus one or two natives and perhaps even an environmentalist may be appointed to the Water Board to struggle for their interests within the bureaucracy. Such arrangements provide only a shadow of democratic accountability.40 An alternative framework, based on "decentralized in i t iat ives", is suggested by the authors of a Science Council of Canada study on Arct ic petroleum development. They acknowledge the inadequacy of existing p lura l i s t mechanisms in the North, such as public hearings, not because these usurp any legitimate central seat of power, but because they f a i l to effectively decentralize authority. Because peripheral actors lack resources, power becomes centralized in the hands of a bureaucratic hierarchy a l l i ed with industry. Institutionalized inputs by interest groups are needed, the authors argue, but they suggest that these take place at the cabinet rather than the local administrative level : Perhaps more important than the involvement of a l l affected actors . . . is the balance of power among actors. The development in i t ia t ives come from government or industry. However . . . effective societal involvement in assessment and forecasting requires instead decentralized in i t ia t ives . . . While government and industry have consulted with northern groups in the course of their programs, the con-sultation has been after the fact. This does not qualify as 'decentralized in i t i a t ive s ' . . . (The Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development) suggests that normal machinery within the department is capable of 16 resolving the conflicts and is the appropriate forum. How-ever, the pre-eminent role of the 'Northern Development Program' of (DIAND) is such that the economic development interests within the department carry more weight. If 'development-people' decisions could be made outside the department where a wider array of interests and values could be brought into perspective - such as one might expect from Cabinet - different decisions might result.41 Differing ideas have also been put forward regarding the jur i sd ic t ional divis ion of power over resource and economic planning in the North. The Carr Commission report on economic development in the Yukon stressed the importance of the retention and strengthening of northern resource planning as an instru-42 ment of national pol icy. On the other hand, there is the suggestion of 43 Macleod and others that a share of power over resources be transferred to the T e r r i t o r i a l governments. In our study, we w i l l use the above models as bases on which to formu-late recommendations regarding decision-making structures and processes in the Canadian North, and try to determine which one best suits actual conditions and problems relating to hydro development north of the s ixt ieth p a r a l l e l . 5. Methodology Our analysis w i l l consist of a case study of the Snare Forks hydro-e lectr ic development. Snare Forks is of interest because i t presents a case of administrative fa i lure (undesirable outcomes) in the North, and also because i t offers an opportunity to evaluate the operation of existing decision-making machinery in the northern environment. In this study, we w i l l attempt to provide an accurate account of the planning, administration, and construction of the Snare, with a view towards isolating the direct and contributing causes of the administrative fa i lure . Our analysis i s based on the premise that while individual personalities and capabil i t ies may have some bearing on the operation of any organization, i t s interactions with other organizations, and with the public at large, i t is the structural framework of that organization, i ts rules 17 and procedures, and the human, economic, and technical resources at i t s disposal, that are the principal determinants of organizational behaviour and performance. Thus, our assessment of the administration of the Snare Forks project w i l l focus not on the actions of individuals but on the inst i tut ional and organizational framework within which those actions took place. The research comprises three basic methodological steps. The f i r s t (already presented) consists of a review of some of the leading contemporary l i terature on Public Administration, from which normative c r i t e r i a are derived. The second w i l l consist of a review of primary evidence, allowing reconstruction of the events related to planning and construction. The third w i l l consist of a relation of those events to the c r i t e r i a based on the theoretical l i terature . With regard to the accountability cr i ter ion , this study w i l l examine the public hearing transcript and other relevant NCPC and/or Water Board docu-ments, to identify the actors involved, as well as to determine which actors had the greatest input into the decision-making process. In part icular, we w i l l want to determine the extent to which the inst i tut ional mechanisms for public input (public hearings and other channels of consultation) afforded a l l affected interests an equal opportunity to be heard, and the ava i lab i l i ty of information • fac i l i ta t ing their involvement, as well as the involvement of interested outside parties. (The people of Canada as a whole and their elected representatives in Parliament can be said to have a legitimate interest in northern development policy and i t s administration, even i f they are not immediately affected by a given issue.) F ina l ly , in our conclusion, we w i l l want to assess the relevance of each of the competing models of democratic administration to the conditions of the North, and issue recommendations as to what type of approach would best ensure accountability in e lec tr ica l energy planning in the Terr i tor ies , on the basis of the Snare Forks experience. It is beyond the scope of this study to engage in a detailed behavioural 18 analysis of the actions of decision-makers involved in the Snare Forks process. The l i terature cited under the "efficiency" cr i ter ion , while behavioural in orientation (at least in the case of Simon), w i l l be used in a normative con-text; we are concerned primarily with the level of aspiration northern e lec tr ica l energy planning ought to be based on. The behavioural aspect is relevant principal ly in that i t notes a set of human limitations to take into account when assessing decision-making systems. If we accept those l imitations, then we must acknowledge the poss ib i l i ty that such human l imitations, and not inst i tut ional fa i lure , may l i e at the root of any undesirable outcomes. The principal question related to the efficiency cr i t er ion , then, is whether the administrative fai lure at Snare Forks can be explained in terms of the above-mentioned human l imitations, or whether i t reflects fundamental flaws in inst i tut ional design. To this end, we w i l l examine NCPC planning documents and correspondence to determine the bases (available information) on which the important planning decisions were made, the alternative courses of action available, and whether the processes made provision for any outside technical expertise (aside from NCPC-hired consultants) to be brought into the picture to assess the quality and thoroughness of the Commission's planning for the project. 19 Notes to Chapter One See H.V. Nelles, The Pol i t ics of Development: Forests, Mines, and Hydro- Electr ic Power in Ontario, 1849-1941, Toronto: Macmillan, 1974. See Phi l ip Selznick, TVA and the Grass Roots, New York, Harper and Row, 1966. See Janet E. Macpherson, "The Pine Point Mine" in Everett B. Peterson and Janet B. Wright (eds.), Northern Transitions (vol. I) , Ottawa, Canadian Arctic Resources Committee, 1978, pp. 65-110. W. Graham Nicholls , Hydro-Electric Power Planning in the Yukon: A Case Study  of the Aishihik Project, M.A. Thesis, University of Br i t i sh Columbia, 1979, to be published by CARC, 1980. Preliminary plans by NCPC provided for the powerhouse to be constructed on or direct ly above Strutt Lake, a widening of the Snare River, and hence through much of the planning process the proposed development was referred to as the "Strutt Lake" project. After i n i t i a l consultations with the Water Board, i t was decided to build the powerhouse and dam downstream near a natural fork in the Snare, and the project became known as the "Snare Forks" development. After construction problems and the decision to relocate the dam at a s i te near the outlet of the Snare into Strutt Lake, the name "Strutt Lake" came into frequent use again. For purposes of convenience, the development w i l l be referred to as "Snare Forks" throughout, except in discussion of the early planning stages. Transcript of the Northwest Territories Water Board Public Hearing (NCPC-Strutt Lake), February 6, 1974, pp. 58-61, 67-72. J . Long, General Manager, NCPC, to author, May 8, 1980. Douglas Steen, NCPC Chief of Planning to David Gee, Chairman, Northwest Territories Water Board, January 3, 1974. Report of the Task Force on E lec tr i ca l Energy Costs in the North, November 15, 1976, Table 1. Anthony Downs, Inside Bureaucracy, Boston, L i t t l e Brown, 1967, p. 30. For a contemporary expression of this viewpoint, see Theodore Lowi, The End  of Liberalism, New York, W.W. Nordon, 1968. See Arthur F. Bentley, The Process of Government, Evanston, 111., Principia Press, 1949, and David B. Truman, The Governmental Process, New York, Alfred A. Knopf, 1958. See also Mancur Olson, The Logic of Collective Action, Cambridge, Mass., Harvard University Press, 1971, pp. 17-22, 114-31. Gordon Tullock, The Pol i t i c s of Bureaucracy, Washington, D . C , Public Affairs Press, 1965, pp. 101, 107. Edwin Haefele, Representative Government and Environmental Management, Baltimore, Johns Hopkins University Press, 1973, pp. 24, 120-22. 20 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 Olson, o p . c i t . , pp. 36-37. For a detailed example of the implications of inequality of access and resources among interest group for the policy-making process in Canada, see W.T. Stanbury, Business Interests and the Reform of Canadian Competition  Policy 1971-75, Toronto, Methuen, 1977. Advocates of s t r i c t p o l i t i c a l control over policy-making, such as Haefele, c r i t i c i z e this approach on the basis that i t forces governmental adminis-trators to make judgments as to the legitimacy of groups ( i . e . which ones are to receive funding). See Representative Government and Environmental  Management, p. 139. This concept was f i r s t advanced by turn-of-the-century reformers who saw the emerging p lural i s t system as being weighted heavily in favour of trusts and financial interests and against labour and consumers. See John R. Commons, Proportional Representation, Madison, University of Wisconsin Press, 1907. It became realized in the organization of New Deal agencies such as the TVA, which Selznick went as far to describe as "corporatist". See TVA and the  Grass Roots, p. 220. More recently i t has been seen in the form of observed informal "clientelism" within governmental departments and agencies, part ic -ularly in the United States, but also in other western democracies. See Aaron Wildayskyj The Po l i t i c s of the Budgetary Process, Boston, L i t t l e Brown, 1974. See Olson, o p . c i t . , p. 131. Olson, o p . c i t . , pp. 171-2. Vincent Ostrom, The Intel lectual Cr is i s in American Public Administration, University, A l a . , University of Alabama Press, 1963, pp. 19, 65, 111, 130. Edwin R. Black, Divided Loyalties, Montreal, McGill-Queen's University Press, 1975, p. 16. Ib id . , p. 17. Tullock, o p . c i t . , Ch. 25; see also Haefele, o p . c i t . , pp. 120-21. See Pierre E l l i o t t Trudeau, "Federal Grants to Universities" in Federalism  and the French Canadians, Toronto, MacMillan, 1968. Ostrom, o p . c i t . , pp. 77, 86-88, 132. Herbert A. Simon, Administrative Behavior, New York, Free Press, 1957, p. 76. See Irwin Bross, Design for Decision, New York, MacMillan, 1953. 28 „ . Simon, o p . c i t . , p. xxv. 29 30 Downs, o p . c i t . , p. 75. David Braybrooke and Charles E. Lindblom, A Strategy of Decision, Glencoe, 111., Free Press, 1963, p. 82. 31 Charles E. Lindblom, "The Science of Muddling Through" i n Amitae E t z i o n i , (ed.), Readings i n Modern Organizations, Englewood C l i f f s , N.J., Prentice H a l l , 1969. 32 Charles E. Lindblom, The Policy-Making Process, Englewood C l i f f s , N.J., Pre n t i c e - H a l l , 1968, p. 27. 33 Yehezkel Dror, "Muddling Through, 'Science' or I n e r t i a ? " i n E t z i o n i , op.c pp. 166-71. 34 Science Council of Canada Committee on Northern Development, Discussion  Paper on Northern Development, January 1976, pp. 11-12. 35 J.M. M i l l e n , Head, Resource Impact D i v i s i o n , Resource Management Branch, Environment Canada, to R.J. Paterson, Chief, Resource Management Branch, Environment Canada, June 3, 1974. 36 Selznick, o p . c i t . , Ch. 3, 4. ^ Macpherson, o p . c i t . 38 Robert F. Keith, e t . a l . , Northern Development and Technology Assessment  Systems, Science Council of Canada, n.d., p. 158. 39 William Macleod, Water Management i n the Canadian North, Ottawa, Canadian A r c t i c Resources Committee, 1977. 40 Kitson Vincent, Foreward to Macleod, o p . c i t . 41 Keith, e t . a l . , o p . c i t . , pp. 156-57. 42 D.W. Carr and F.W. Anderson, The Yukon Economy: Its P o t e n t i a l f o r Growth  and Contunity, V ol. I, Ottawa, 1968, p. 168. 43 Macleod, o p . c i t . , p. 105. 22 CHAPTER TWO BACKGROUND Below we w i l l i d e n t i f y the actors and p o t e n t i a l actors i n the Snare Forks planning process, and summarize the s t r u c t u r a l and procedural framework governing t h e i r a c t i v i t i e s and i n t e r a c t i o n s , as well as describe b r i e f l y the background s e t t i n g against which events the planning and construction process would take place. 1. The I n s t i t u t i o n a l Framework^ "Introduction_to the Actors i ) Northern Canada Power Commission (NCPC) The Canadian federal government f i r s t became involved i n e l e c t r i c power production north of the s i x t i e t h p a r a l l e l i n 1946, when the Department of Mines and Resources undertook construction of a h y d r o e l e c t r i c plant at Snare Rapids on the Snare River, which flows into the north arm of Great Slave Lake. The plant was designed p r i m a r i l y for the purpose of supplying the Giant Yellowknife gold mine. With the completion of the project i n 1948, Parliament passed l e g i s l a t i o n creating a new Crown corporation, the Northwest T e r r i t o r i e s Power Commission, to administer the plant. The Northwest T e r r i t o r i e s Power  Commission Act delegated to the Commission the authority to operate under i t s own bylaws and formulate regulations independent of Parliament (subject to m i n i s t e r i a l and Cabinet approval)."*" The following year, the Commission expanded i t s service by connect-ing the Yellowknife townsite and the adjacent Consolidated Mining and Smelting 2 (Cominco) operations to the plant. In 1951, the Commission extended i t s a c t i v i t i e s into the Yukon, commencing construction on the Mayo River development (5.4 megawatts). In 1956, construction began on the 11.4 megawatt Whitehorse Rapids hydr o e l e c t r i c 23 f a c i l i t y , three kilometres upstream from Whitehorse (an a d d i t i o n a l eight-3 megawatts capacity was added i n 1969). Also, i n 1956, the o r i g i n a l l e g i s l a t i o n was amended to become the 4 Northern Canada Power Commission Act. Capacity i n the Northwest T e r r i t o r i e s was expanded with the con-s t r u c t i o n of the Snare F a l l s hydro development, sixteen kilometres downstream from Snare Rapids, i n 1959-60. The power output of these two plants was augmented by a standby d i e s e l f a c i l i t y i n s t a l l e d at Yellowknife i n 1965.^ In a d d i t i o n to the Snare/Yellowknife system, the Northern Canada Power Commission also undertook to ex p l o i t the hyd r o e l e c t r i c power p o t e n t i a l of the Taltson River northeast of Fort Smith, completing the construction of an eighteen-megawatt f a c i l i t y there i n 1965. The Pine Point Mine, on the south shore of Great Slave Lake, became the p r i n c i p a l consumer of the plant's output, though the towns of Fort Smith, Fort Resolution and Pine Point were also served. 0 The most ambitious project undertaken by NCPC was the t h i r t y - t h r e e megawatt A i s h i h i k development on the East A i s h i h i k River, 130 kilometres north-west of Whitehorse. Construction was scheduled to begin i n 1972, but NCPC f a i l e d to obtain project approval from the Yukon Water Board at the f i r s t scheduled l i c e n c e hearing i n May of that year because the regulations of the Northern Inland Waters Act had not as yet been promulgated, and because the Commission had f a i l e d to provide notice i n the l o c a l press as s p e c i f i e d i n the Act. Further technical studies were recommended by the Board, and a second l i c e n c i n g hearing was scheduled for January, 1973. After t h i s hearing, a water use li c e n c e was issued, but with conditions attached l i m i t i n g the l e v e l of A i s h i h i k Lake behind the dam. Expansion of the project to f u l l plan-ned capacity was considered at hearings i n August and September, 1975. At i t s 24 completion i n early 1976, project expenses to t a l l e d ' $39 m i l l i o n , more than twice the o r i g i n a l estimate. Also, the o r i g i n a l plans engendered objections from environmentalists concerned with t h e i r e f f e c t s on f i s h stocks and esthetics ( p a r t i c u l a r l y the scenic Otter F a l l s ) and from natives demanding settlement of land claims, and there were accusations that information poten-t i a l l y damaging to NCPC was suppressed at the l a t t e r hearings.^ In 1972, the Commission took over the operation of l o c a l d i e s e l generators from the government of the Northwest T e r r i t o r i e s . Today NCPC pro-vides power to a l l communities i n the Northwest T e r r i t o r i e s , with the excep-tions of Hay River, Fort Providence, and Enterprise, which are supplied by d i e s e l plants operated by the privately-owned Alberta Power Ltd. (A number of mines i n the T e r r i t o r i e s operate t h e i r own power sources, including the Cominco operation i n Yellowknife, which continues to draw some of i t s supply from i t s own small hydro plant at Prosperous Lake, outside the c i t y . ) In addition, NCPC supplies power to seven communities i n the Yukon (others being served by Yukon E l e c t r i c a l Ltd., a private enterprise u t i l i t y ) as well as F i e l d i n B r i t i s h Columbia. The Commission also operates the water works at Inuvik, Fort McPherson, Frobisher Bay, and Dawson, c e n t r a l heating at Inuvik 9 and Fort McPherson, and sewer systems at Inuvik, Frobisher Bay, and Dawson. As of 1976, about ha l f of NCPC's t o t a l output was produced by the si x then-operating hydro plants, the remainder being generated by f i f t y - t w o d i e s e l u n i t s . D i s t r i b u t i o n of NCPC-generated power to consumers i n Yellowknife i s c a r r i e d out by Plains Western Gas and E l e c t r i c , Ltd., a p r i v a t e l y owned company. Under the Northern Canada Power Commission Act of 1956, the Commission i s composed of three members appointed by the Minister of Indian 25 and Northern A f f a i r s , including a Chairman who i s the chief executive o f f i c e r . J The corporate headquarters are located i n Edmonton. The operating p o l i c i e s of the Commission are not s p e c i f i e d i n the l e g i s l a t i o n . Control over p o l i c i e s and regulations i s delegated to the Board of Directors (or Commission members). NCPC accounts are subject to the audit of the Auditor-General of Canada. The Commission reports to the Minister of Indian A f f a i r s and Northern Development (though, as a separate Crown corpora-t i o n , i t i s not a c t u a l l y part of DIAND), and thus the Minister i s answerable 11 i n Parliament for N C P c on matters of general p o l i c y . The Commission's stated purpose i s to plan, manage, and construct 12 public u t i l i t i e s , p r i m a r i l y e l e c t r i c a l , on a commercial bas i s . Thus, NCPC i s required to be f i n a n c i a l l y s e l f - s u s t a i n i n g , though i t s basic objective i s to provide u t i l i t y service to northern communities at the lowest possible cost. Funding for c a p i t a l expenditures i s obtained through interest-bearing loans 13 from the f e d e r a l government. Rates assessed by the Commission are subject to regulation by the t e r r i t o r i a l Public U t i l i t i e s Boards, but review can only take place upon intervention by a t h i r d party, who must j u s t i f y a hearing. The t e r r i t o r i a l governments maintain rate equalization schemes designed to ease the burden on householders i n smaller communities, where per-unit generating costs are 14 higher. Since 1977, these have been supplemented by d i r e c t f e d e r a l consum-er subsidies. Public u t i l i t i e s elsewhere are required to be f i n a n c i a l l y s e l f -sustaining, but i n the Canadian North, with i t s small, scattered population and long transmission distances, such a requirement (even with l i m i t e d subsidies or rate equalization plans by the t e r r i t o r i a l governments) can be 26 seen as running d i r e c t l y contrary to the t r a d i t i o n a l philosophy of public power. This philosophy, as applicable to the Canadian North, was summarized by the Carr Commission i n 1968: (The Canadian North) has reached an economic stage where power development can now be e f f e c t i v e l y used as an instrument of national p o l i c y for stimulating economic growth. Since the benefits of such econo-mic growth may be expected to accrue to the Canadian economy as a whole, i t i s appro-p r i a t e that power development be retained as an instrument of public p o l i c y . x ^ Under a s i t u a t i o n of l i m i t e d resources, high per-unit costs, and a r e s p o n s i b i l i t y to supply customers with power at reasonable rates, the temptation could be expected to loom large for NCPC to act as an independent agent f o r northern development, a c t i v e l y r e c r u i t i n g . o r encouraging i n d u s t r i a l consumers to locate or expand i n the T e r r i t o r i e s , i n order to expand i t s revenue base and reduce per-unit costs. This, charge some c r i t i c s , i s exactly what occurred during the Pine Point development. When Consolidated Mining and Smelting (Cominco) f i r s t considered tapping the lead and zinc deposits at Pine Point, near Hay River, i n the early 1950's, i t had intended to supply the needed power i t s e l f through i t s West Kootenay Li g h t i n g and Power subsidiary, and looked toward the Slave River f o r a possible s i t e for a hyd r o - e l e c t r i c development. F e a s i b i l i t y studies by the Crown-owned Eldorado Mining and Refining Limited found the concept unworkable. Cominco then turned to NCPC, whose studies also concluded that a Slave River development would not be economically v i a b l e . Under pressure from the deputy minister of Northern A f f a i r s , NCPC looked for alternate s i t e s , and decided to develop the Twin Gorges s i t e on the Taltson River. In 1963, a draf t agreement 27 was drawn up between Cominco and NCPC, under w h i c h t h e f o r m e r a g r e e d t o g u a r a n t e e f u l l r e c o v e r y o f c o s t s i n c u r r e d by t h e l a t t e r i n t h e c o n s t r u c t i o n o f the T a l t s o n p l a n t , i n r e t u r n f o r a t w e n t y - y e a r s u p p l y o f power a t w e l l b elow p r e v a i l i n g r a t e s . T h i s agreement was n e v e r f o r m a l l y s i g n e d , b u t was adhered t o u n t i l 1976, when r a t e s were i n c r e a s e d by f i f t y - t w o p e r c e n t . They were i n c r e a s e d a g a i n i n 1977 by 147 per c e n t . ^ The T a l t s o n R i v e r h y d r o - e l e c t r i c development c o s t t h e N o r t h e r n Canada Power Commission $ 9 3 m i l l i o n t o c o m p l e t e . S i n c e t h e Commission i s r e q u i r e d by l a w t o be f i n a n c i a l l y s e l f - s u s t a i n i n g , r a t e s a s s e s s e d must c o v e r p r i n c i p a l , i n t e r e s t , m a i n t e n a n c e , and o p e r a t i n g c o s t s . By 1975, NCPC had r e c o v e r e d o n l y seven m i l l i o n d o l l a r s from Cominco's P i n e P o i n t M ines i 18 s u b s i d i a r y . The above arrangement came under f i r e n o t o n l y from o b s e r v e r s c o n c e r n e d w i t h t h e use o f p u b l i c f u n d s , b u t a l s o from o f f i c i a l s o f t h e D e p a r t -ment o f I n d i a n A f f a i r s and N o r t h e r n Development and o t h e r m i n i s t r i e s c l o s e l y i n v o l v e d w i t h t h e N o r t h , who c h a r g e d t h a t such " c o z y d e a l s " u s u r p e d t h e p l a n -n i n g j u r i s d i c t i o n o f t h e f e d e r a l government and t h r e a t e n e d t h e emergence of a c l o s e d p a t r o n - c l i e n t r e l a t i o n s h i p between NCPC and t h e m i n i n g i n d u s t r y t h a t 19 would be removed from d e m o c r a t i c a c c o u n t a b i l i t y . W h i l e NCPC i s a n s w e r a b l e t o P a r l i a m e n t t h r o u g h t h e M i n i s t e r o f I n d i a n and N o r t h e r n A f f a i r s , i t i s a s e p a r a t e Crown C o r p o r a t i o n and n o t a p a r t o f DIAND, and i n r e c e n t y e a r s t h e Commission appears t o have j e a l o u s l y guarded i t s autonomy. O f f i c i a l s o f DIAND have spoken o f a t o t a l l a c k o f communica-t i o n between t h e two b o d i e s , and c o m p l a i n t h a t t h e i r p r o p o s a l s f o r i n t e g r a t e d 20 p l a n n i n g a rrangements have met w i t h l i t t l e r e s p o n s e from NCPC. 28 i i ) The Northern Inland Waters Act Prior to 1972, the Northern Canada Power Commission faced few legal restrict ions in planning for hydro-electric development. The issuance of licences was governed by the Dominion Water Power Act, and the Northern Canada Power Commission Act, which contained the following clause: The commission is entitled to receive upon applica-tion any licence or other authority under the Dominion Water Power Act necessary to enable the Commission to carry out this Act. After 1970, the federal government moved to establish a more coherent framework for water use planning in the North. The result was the Northern  Inland Waters Act, passed in the House of Commons late in 1970 and proclaimed in force early in 1972. The Act contains two provisions significant for hydro-electric development in the North: the inst i tut ion of a formal public hearing procedure for applications for water use, and the establishment of Water Boards in each of the two terr i tor ies to review the applications and grant licences. Section 9 of the Act describes the purposes of the Boards: The objects of the Boards are to provide for the conservation, development, and u t i l i za t ion of the water resources of the Yukon Territory and the Northwest Territories in a manner that w i l l provide the optimum benefit therefrom for a l l Canadians, and for the residents of the Yukon Territory and the Northwest Territories in particular. The t e r r i t o r i a l Water Boards consist of nine members each. Member-ship composition is covered by Section 7 (2): The membership of each board shal l include (a) at least one nominee each of the departments of the Government of Canada that, in the opinion of the Governor-in-Council are most direct ly concered with the management of water resources of the Territory and the Terr i tor ies , and (b) at least three persons named by the Commissioner-in-Council of the Yukon Territory in the case of the Yukon Territory Water 29 Board and at least three persons named by the Commissioner-in-Council of the Northwest T e r r i -tories in the case of the Northwest Territories Water Board. The above provision was amended by an Order-in-Council dated May, 1977, to reduce federal government representation to three and increase t e r r i t o r i a l representation to six. Section 3(2) prohibits the diversion and other use of water within a water management area, except under l icence. , Section 15 lays down the conditions and procedures for public hearings and states (2) that hearings must be held in connection with every application for a licence and with every renewal, amendment, or cancellation of a licence. Provision is made for waiving public hearings for licence amendments i f "the board, with the consent of the Minister, declares the amendment to be required on an emergency basis." Section 17 spells out the requirements for public notice of hearings. Licence applications must "give notice of such application by publication thereof in the Canada Gazette and in one or more newspapers, including at least one that is in circulat ion within the area affected." The Water Management areas are established in the Regulations for the Act. Section 5 of the Regulations spells out different classif ications of water use. These include agricul tural , conservation, industr ia l , municipal, power, water engineering, storage, and recreational purposes. The power c lass i f icat ion is subdivided into six classes, based on output in megawatts. Section 8 sets forth the technical documentation required of appl i -cants. In cases of hydro developments, these include: a) where the proposed work consists of a dam, a plan showing the length and height of the dam with 30 cross-sections and elevations, the location and preliminary designs of spillways, canals, sluice pipes, and a l l other.outlet works, and datas respecting the type and composition of materials to be used in construction b)where the proposed work consists of a storage reservoir, an estimate of the approximate number of acres of land to be flooded, the approximate surface area in acres of the reservoir when f i l l e d , the contemplated total storage capacity, and the representative cross sections. The Regulations, then, specif ical ly include only engineering data and do not exp l i c i t ly mention environmental impact assessments. The Board, however, 22 is granted the discretion to require further information of applicants, and in practice the information asked for far exceeds the provisions of the Regulations. The Water Board is a quasi- judicial body, and thus i t s decisions may be legal ly challenged in the Federal Court of Appeal on matters of law or . . j , . 23 jur i sd ic t ion . Board decisions regarding licence applications must be approved by 24 the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development. Federal government appointees to the Board have in the past found themselves faced with a dilemna as to their actual role , as to whether to act as representatives of their respective departments, bound by departmental policy, or as impartial arbitrators, exercising their independent professional judgment. Some discussion emerged in response to a memorandum, dated February 8, 1974, from A. Digby Hunt, Assistant Deputy Minister of Indian and Northern Af fa i r s , to K.C . Lucas of Environment Canada, in which Hunt advised that presentations by federal representatives at Water Board meetings "must be consistent with federal government pol icy, and the personal opinions of the 25 author should be avoided." 31 T h i s b r o u g h t about a r e b u t t a l from C S . A l e x a n d e r o f L e g a l S e r v i c e s s Department of t h e E n v i r o n m e n t : There i s an i m p o r t a n t d i s t i n c t i o n i n f u n c t i o n between a p e r s o n who i s nominated t o membership on a b o a r d t o r e p r e s e n t a c l i e n t ' s p a r t i c u l a r i n t e r e s t , and one who i s so nominated f o r h i s knowledge o f some o r a l l o f t h e m a t t e r s w i t h w h i c h a b o a r d ought t o c o n c e r n i t s e l f . I n my o p i n i o n , P a r l i a m e n t i n t e n d e d d e p a r t -m e n t a l nominees (and a l l o t h e r nominees, f o r t h a t m a t t e r ) to f u l f i l l t he l a t t e r r a t h e r t h a n t h e f o r m e r f u n c t i o n . The t e r r i t o r i a l Water Boards a r e w h o l l y d i f f e r e n t from t h e boards e s t a b l i s h e d , f o r example, under l a b o u r laws where members a r e e x p e c t e d t o r e -p r e s e n t o p p o s i n g i n t e r e s t s . 2 6 He c o n t i n u e d : C l e a r l y , i n a s s i g n i n g a q u a s i - j u d i c i a l f u n c t i o n t o t h e t e r r i t o r i a l Water B o a r d s , • P a r l i a m e n t m a n i f e s t e d i t s . i n t e n t i o n t o r e q u i r e each' member to e x e r c i s e o b j e c t i v e ' • judgment r a t h e r t h a n r e p r e s e n t a master t o whom he owes a p a r t i c u l a r l o y a l t y . The d e c i s i o n of a b o a r d may o r may n o t be p r o p e r l y i n f l u e n c e d by f e d e r a l government p o l i c y . But what-e v e r t h a t p o l i c y i s , i t i s c e r t a i n l y n o t the s o l e c r i t e r i o n by w h i c h a b o a r d s h o u l d a s s e s s an a p p l i c a -t i o n . I f i t were, the a c t i o n of P a r l i a m e n t i n p a s s i n g t h e N o r t h e r n I n l a n d Water ( s i c ) A c t would be r e n d e r e d a mere f a r c e . 2 / R e l a t e d t o the above i s t h e q u e s t i o n of t h e l e g i t i m a t e e x t e n t of the Water Board's r e v i e w powers. Some ( p a r t i c u l a r l y s e n i o r o f f i c i a l s o f DIAND) have m a i n t a i n e d t h a t t h e Board i s s t r i c t l y a l i c e n c i n g body, and thus s h o u l d p r o p e r l y c o n f i n e i t s e l f t o m a t t e r s s p e c i f i c a l l y p u t f o r t h i n f e d e r a l l e g i s l a -t i o n . O t h e r s have a d v o c a t e d a more a c t i v i s t r o l e f o r the Water B o a r d , i n w h i c h i t i n c l u d e s economic and t e c h n i c a l f e a s i b i l i t y and l o n g - r a n g e p l a n n i n g 28 p r i o r i t i e s as c r i t e r i a i n the i s s u a n c e of l i c e n c e s . I n p r a c t i c e , t h e N o r t h -west T e r r i t o r i e s Water Board has l e a n e d toward the f o r m e r i n t e r p r e t a t i o n , 29 w h i l e i t s Yukon c o u n t e r p a r t has t e n d e d toward t h e l a t t e r . I n t h e Yukon, t h e Board has used b o t h government e x p e r t s and p r i v a t e i n d u s t r y c o n s u l t a n t s ( r e t a i n e d t h r o u g h DIAND's.Water R e s o u r c e s D i v i s i o n ) i n p r e p a r i n g i n d e p e n d e n t t e c h n i c a l s t u d i e s and assessments of a p p l i c a t i o n s . 32 The Northwest Territories Water Board rel ies on i t s Technical Committee (composed of nine persons, nominated by each of the s i t t ing members) for pro-fessional advice. The Regulations of NIWA contain provision for public access to application documents through the Water Use Registry. The licences themselves are not legal ly part of the register, but in practice the licences, as well as authorizations, reports, monitoring data and correspondence are treated as 31 being in the public domain. i i i ) The Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development (DIAND) The jur isdict ion of the Department is spelled out in the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development Act: The duties, powers, and functions of the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development extend to include a l l matters over which the Parliament of Canada has jur i sd ic t ion , not by law assigned to any other department, branch, or agency of the Government of Canada, relating to (a) Indian Affairs (b) the Northwest Territories and ttie Yukon Territory and their resources and affairs.32 The Department controls the administration of lands, waters and natural resources in the two terr i tor ies . It is charged with administering the Northern Inland Waters Act, and the Northern Canada Power Commission is res-ponsible to Parliament through the Minister. Before March, 1975, the Deputy Minister doubled as the Chairman of NCPC; the Assistant Deputy Minister s t i l l 33 s i ts on the Board of Directors. The scope of DIAND's jurisdict ion and. act iv i t ies in the North is 34 such that i t has been referred to as a "province-like actor". Responsibilities of the Department include both conservation and protection of native interests . (including settlement of land claims) on the one hand, and the promotion of i 33 economic expansion (through i t s Northern Development Program) on the other. This, charge some c r i t i c s , r e s u l t s i n an i n t e r n a l c o n f l i c t of i n t e r e s t that i n e v i t a b l y works to the disadvantage of the former, while departmental spokes-men have countered that t h i s multiple r o l e o f f e r s the greatest opportunity 35 to s t r i k e a balance between the c o n f l i c t i n g i n t e r e s t s . iv) Interest Groups i n the Northwest T e r r i t o r i e s The Northwest T e r r i t o r i e s , with i t s scattered, l a r g e l y transient white population, and a l a r g e l y i n a r t i c u l a t e , and ( u n t i l recently) p o l i t i c a l l y passive native population, has, for obvious reasons, not developed the kind of network of i n t e r e s t groups c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of advanced i n d u s t r i a l society. Sustained challenges to the p o l i c i e s of the Northern Canada Power Commission have come la r g e l y from the Northwest T e r r i t o r i e s Indian Brotherhood, which i n the early 1970's had not yet attained the l e v e l of organization and expertise i t exhibits today. Natives from the Rae-Edzo area complained that the Snare hydro developments a l l but wiped out f i s h i n g i n the upper reaches of the r i v e r and that the construction of power l i n e s impeded the movement of the 36 caribou. James Wah-Shee, president of the Brotherhood at the time of the Snare Forks development, expressed opposition to further expansion of NCPC's hydro generating capacity, on the grounds that new projects would prejudice a land settlement: The people of the Northwest T e r r i t o r i e s are deeply concerned with the plans of the Northern Canada Power Commission to dam our r i v e r s . We have con-s i s t e n t l y expressed our opposition to the insane schemes because of the enormous destruction they i n f l i c t on our way of l i f e , and at the l e a s t because no massive development such as these should be considered i n advance of a land settlement.37 Local environmentalist groups were not a major factor as they were 38 i n the Yukon at the time of the A i s h i h i k project. A group c a l l i n g i t s e l f Ecology North, represented by a Yellowknife resident, Ronald Ramsey, surfaced 34 a t t h e Snare F o r k s p u b l i c h e a r i n g and p r e s e n t e d an e x t e n s i v e b r i e f c r i t i c a l o f t h e p r o p o s a l . E c o l o g y N o r t h a p p a r e n t l y f o l d e d s h o r t l y a f t e r w a r d , and l i t t l e 39 has been h e a r d o f Mr. Ramsey o r h i s o r g a n i z a t i o n s i n c e . B u s i n e s s i n t e r e s t s i n t h e No r t h w e s t T e r r i t o r i e s have tended t o e n t h u s i a s t i c a l l y s u p p o r t NCPC e x p a n s i o n p l a n s , as t h e s e have been seen as p r e -r e q u i s i t e s f o r f u r t h e r economic e x p a n s i o n . G i a n t M i n e s , Cominco, and t h e Y e l l o w k n i f e Chamber of Commerce a l l p r e s e n t e d b r i e f s a t t h e Snare F o r k s h e a r -40 i n g u r g i n g speedy a p p r o v a l and c o m p l e t i o n o f t h e p r o j e c t . No group r e p r e s e n t i n g h o u s e h o l d consumers appeared a t t h e h e a r i n g . W i t h i n the p a s t s e v e r a l y e a r s , i n t h e wake o f t h e p o s t - p r o j e c t r a t e i n c r e a s e s , the Y e l l o w k n i f e b r a n c h o f the Consumers A s s o c i a t i o n o f Canada has been a c t i v e -l y i n v e s t i g a t i n g the a c t i v i t i e s and r a t e s t r u c t u r e o f the Commission t h r o u g h i t s Power S t e e r i n g Committee. As of l a t e 1979, t h e CAC was t a k i n g f o r m a l s t e p s t o b r i n g about a p u b l i c h e a r i n g i n t o p r o p o s e d NCPC r a t e i n c r e a s e s b e f o r e 41 the P u b l i c U t i l i t i e s B o ard. One i m p o r t a n t p o i n t i n our r e v i e w o f t h e r e l e v a n t i n s t i t u t i o n a l framework i s t h a t the d e c i s i o n - m a k i n g b o d i e s concerned w i t h h y d r o e l e c t r i c development i n t h e N o r t h a r e a n s w e r a b l e t o t h e M i n i s t e r o f I n d i a n A f f a i r s and N o r t h e r n Development. The N o r t h e r n I n l a n d Waters A c t makes p r o v i s i o n f o r t e r r i t o r i a l i n p u t t h r o u g h r e p r e s e n t a t i v e s on t h e Water B o a r d , b u t t h i s r e p r e -s e n t a t i o n i s d e t e r m i n e d by DIAND. Both NIWA and t h e NCPC A c t a r e examples o f d e l e g a t e d l e g i s l a t i o n e x t e n d i n g t h e Water Board and NCPC management c o n s i d e r -a b l e a u t h o r i t y t o f o r m u l a t e s t a n d a r d s and p r o c e d u r e s . I n t h e c a s e o f NCPC i t appears t h a t t h i s autonomy has been m a i n t a i n e d , though i n t h e case o f the Water Board t h e r e i s e v i d e n c e t o s u g g e s t t h a t t h e DIAND h i e r a r c h y has a t t e m p t -ed t o e x e r t c o n t r o l ^ g i v i n g r i s e t o an i n t e r n a l d e b a t e o v e r t h e m e r i t s o f b u r e a u c r a t i c c e n t r a l i s m as opposed t o a d m i n i s t r a t i v e a c t i v i s m . 35 2. Physical C h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of the Project Area The Snare River r i s e s i n a serie s of lakes 290 kilometres north of Yellowknife, very near the tree l i n e at 64°30'N. It flows i n a generally southwesterly d i r e c t i o n f o r about 105 km, most of the flow being through a chain of lakes, the larger ones being Whitewolf, Winter, Roundrock, Snare, and Indin. Below Indin Lake, the flow of the r i v e r changes from southwesterly to southerly, passing through Kwejinne, Bigspruce, S t r u t t , Slemon and Russell Lakes, and, f i n a l l y into Marian Lake, which forms the north arm of Great Slave Lake.^ 2 Between Kwejinne and Marian Lakes, the Snare River drops i n eleva-t i o n from 228 m to 157 m above sea l e v e l . The steepest drop occurs between Bigspruce (221 m) and Strutt (159 m) Lakes, and i t i s within this s t r e t c h that 43 NCPC's hydro developments have been constructed. The area through which the Snare River flows l i e s within the Pre-Cambrian Shield. It i s generally characterized by low r e l i e f , but there i s some l o c a l l y rugged topography, and a series of steep ridges r i s e s about 150 m 44 above the east bank of the Snare near the Snare Forks s i t e . The bedrock i s of a metamorphic or i n t r u s i v e igneous type; i t i s exposed i n many places, but covered elsewhere with l a c u s t r i n e clays or g l a c i a l t i l l . The area l i e s within the zone of discontinuous permafrost, and s o i l overburden i s r i c h i n i c e , 45 thawing seasonally to a depth of about 1 m. The climate i s c l a s s i f i e d as subarctic, and is. characterized by wide extremes of temperature. The January mean d a i l y temperature i s around -30°C; i n July i t i s near 16°C. The range of extremes i s roughly -55°C to 35°C. Annual p r e c i p i t a t i o n averages between 200 and 250 mm, with snowfall 46 running between 75 and 125 cm. Vegetation i s c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of the t r a n s i t i o n zone between the boreal f o r e s t and the tundra. Trees, p r i m a r i l y white and black spruce, 36 tamarack, j a c k p i n e , w h i t e b i r c h , and a s p e n , a r e s t u n t e d and i n t e r s p e r e d w i t h ' 47 bog, muskeg, and r o c k o u t c r o p s . 3. Development o f t h e S n a r e / Y e l l o w k n i f e System, 1946-70 The Snare R a p i d s hydro p l a n t , the f i r s t component of t h e s y s t e m , was co m p l e t e d i n 1948. The dam i s of e a r t h - f i l l c o n s t r u c t i o n ; g r o s s head i s 19.2 m w i t h a f o r e b a y e l e v a t i o n ( B i g s p r u c e Lake) o f 221 m. Maximum o u t p u t , from a . , . 48 s i n g l e t u r b i n e g e n e r a t o r , i s seven megawatts. The Snare F a l l s d evelopment, completed i n 1960, was of a s i m i l a r s c a l e . An e a r t h - f i l l dam c r e a t e d a r e s e r v o i r a t e l e v a t i o n 202m; g r o s s head i s 18.9 m, w i t h a s i n g l e t u r b i n e g e n e r a t o r p r o v i d i n g peak power of seven 4 9 megawatts. The two power p l a n t s were c o n n e c t e d t o Y e l l o w k n i f e by a 140 km l o n g , 115 KV t r a n s m i s s i o n l i n e . I n 1968, t h e l i n e was tapped a t t h e c e n t r e and a b r a n c h extended t o t h e communities o f Rae and Edzo o n . M a r i a n Lake. I n 1970, t h e l i n e was extended t o s e r v e t h e s e t t l e m e n t o f D e t a h , e a s t o f Y e l l o w k n i f e . An a d d i t i o n a l s t a n d b y d i e s e l g e n e r a t o r i n Y e l l o w k n i f e , i n s t a l l e d i n 1965, p r o v i d e s a maximum o f s i x megawatts of power f o r peak p e r i o d condumption b r i n g i n g t h e system's t o t a l o u t p u t a t t h e ti m e t o twenty megawatts. 37 Notes to Chapter Two "'"Northwest Territories Power Commission Act, 1948, (8). 2 W. F. Kelly Associates, Strutt Lake Hydro-Electric Development: Feas ib i l i ty  Study, November 1973> p. 5. 3 Nicholls , o p . c i t . , p. 7. 4 Northern Canada Power Commission Act, 1956, c.42 s.2. 5Northern Canada Power Commission, Strutt Lake Hydro-Electric Project: Report  on Preliminary Engineering Investigation, August, 1973, introduction. 6 Transcr ipt , Northwest Territories Water Board Public Hearing, NCPC-Twin Gorges and Nonacho Lake, August 13, 1974, p. 6. ^Northern Canada Power Commission, 29th Annual Review, 1977, p. 2. 8 I b i d . o Robert Tyre, "NCPC Generates the Kilowatts North of 60°" in Trade and  Commerce, October 1976, p. 10. 1 0NCPC Act, 3(3). 1 1 I b i d . 12 NCPC, 29th Annual Review, p. 1. 1 3NCPC Act, 15(1). 14 Report of the Task Force on E lec tr i ca l Energy Costs in the North, pp. 7-8. As of 1976, basic rates in Fort Simpson, NWT, were approximately three times those of Yellowknife. See Table I, infra . "'""'The existing program subsidizes the f i r s t 700 kwh block of power consumed down to the Yellowknife rate in a l l communities. Consumers' Association of Canada, History of NCPC Eterventions, Yellowknife, October 1979. l 6 D.W. Carr and F.W. Anderson, The Yukon Economy: Its Potential for Growth  and Continuity, vo l . I , Ottawa, 1968-, p. 168. "^Janet E. Macpherson, "The Pine Point Mine" in Everett B. Peterson and Janet B. Wright (eds.) Northern Transitions (vol. I ) , Ottawa, Canadian Arct ic Resources Committee, 1978, p. 79. Ibid. 1 9 Inteview with DIAND o f f i c i a l , Ottawa, October 1, 1979. For a detailed discussion of the dilemna facing autonomous public agencies between acting as instruments of central government policy or as agents of local interests, see Phi l ip Selznick, TVA and the Grass Roots, New York, Harper and Row, 1966, especially Chsv 1, 3 and 4. 38 Ibid. 2 1NCPC Act, 2. 2 2 Northern Inland;Waters Act, R.S .C. 1970, c.28, 11(2). 2 3 I b i d . , 21(1). 2 4 I b i d . , 10(1). 25 A.D. Hunt, Assistant Deputy Minister, DIAND, to K . C Lucas, Assistant Deputy Minister, Environment Canada, February 8, 1974. 26 C S . Alexander, Environment Canada Legal Services, to E.W. Burridge, Assist;• . tant Director, Resource Development, Fisheries Service, Environment Canada, August 6, 1974. Ibid. 28 D.C. Campbell, General Manager, Canadian E lec tr i ca l Association, to C A . Lewis, NWT Dis tr ic t Manager, Environmental Protection Service, Environment Canada, March 31, 1975. Also, interview with Arthur G. Redshaw, Controller, NWT Water Board, Yellowknife, November 2, 1979. During the Aishihik development, the Chairman of the Yukon Water Board expl i c i t ly asserted the broader view of the Board's mandate against the directives of A. Digby Hunt, the Assistant Deputy Minister. See W.G. Nichol l ' s Hydro-electric Power Planning in the Yukon, A Case Study of the Aishihik  Project, unpublished M.A. Thesis, UBC, 1979, pp. 53-55. 30 William Macleod, Water Management in the Canadian North, Ottawa, Canadian Arct ic Resources Committee, 1977, p. 47-50. 3 1 I b i d . , p. 19. 32 Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development Act, 1970, 4. 33 Macleod, o p . c i t . , pp. 2,3. Robert F. Keith e t . a l . , Northern Development and Technology Assessment Systems, Science Council of Canada, n . d . , p. 60. 35 Macleod, o p . c i t . , p. 2; see also Keith, e t . a l . , pp. 60-65. 3 o I b i d . , p. 4. 37 House of Commons, Standing Committee on Indian Affairs and Northern Develop-ment, Minutes, December 12, 1974, 11:08. O Q For an account of environmentalist and native opposition to the Aishihik development, see Nicholls , o p . c i t . , Ch. 3. 39 Macleod, o p . c i t . , p. 25. 39 40 Snare Forks Public Hearing Transcript, pp. 53-56, 57. 41 Consumers Association of Canada, o p . c i t . \^ 2 Pearse Bowden Economic Consultants/Envirocon Ltd., S t r u t t Lake Hydro- E l e c t r i c Development, Snare River, Northwest T e r r i t o r i e s : Environmental  Impact Assessment, January 1974, pp. 2,3. 43 Ibid., p. 3. 44 Ib i d . , p. 4. 45 W.F. K e l l y and Associates, Strutt Lake Hydroelectric Development: F e a s i - b i l i t y Study, November 1973, p. 9. 46 Pearse Bowden, op . c i t . , p. 4. 47 Ibid., p. 52; also Environment Canada, Atmospheric Environment Service, Temperature and P r e c i p i t a t i o n Records, Yukon and NWT, 1941-70. ^ K e l l y , o p . c i t . , p. 25. 49 Ibid.,; see also Public Hearing Transcript, p. 25. 50T, ., Ibid . 51 T.., Ibid. i 40 CHAPTER THREE THE PLANNING PROCESS This chapter consists of a d e t a i l e d account of the planning and ad-m i n i s t r a t i v e process leading up to the construction of the Snare Forks development. Below we w i l l document the a l t e r n a t i v e courses of action a v a i l -able to the Commission, the i n v e s t i g a t i o n of those alternatives'„ and the f i n a l choices made, as well as the formal procedures followed, and i n t e r a c t i o n s with other actors i n the process. 1. Development of the Snare Forks Project i ) Load Forecasts: Determination of the Need for System Expansion The 1970's saw accelerated economic expansion and population growth i n Yellowknife, as a r e s u l t of the r e l o c a t i o n of the t e r r i t o r i a l c a p i t a l there, and, to a lesser extent, of the expansion of the Cominco operations. Demands on the Snare/Yellowknife system increased sharply, with domestic consumption i n Yellowknife accounting for most of the increase. Between 1967 and 1972, household consumption i n Yellowknife grew from 15 m i l l i o n kilowatt-hours to 38 m i l l i o n kilowatt-hours. Plains Western Gas and E l e c t r i c Ltd., the d i s -t r i b u t o r of the NCPC-generated power to household consumers i n Yellowknife, became the larges t user of power i n the system, accounting f o r 41 per cent of demand i n 1972; the Giant Mine,, which formerly accounted for the bulk of the system load, by then had declined to 38 per cent."*" At the same time, however, there was some uncertainty as to the immediate economic future of Yellowknife. There was some i n d i c a t i o n that the Giant Mine (whose production - and power consumption - had remained stagnant through the 1960's and early 1970's) might shut down i t s operations completely by 1977. 2 NCPC's load forecasts, then, were based on two possible scenarios. The f i r s t assumed the continued operation of the Giant Mine,' at a constant 41 capacity, with peak load on the system growing from 18 megawatts in 1972-73 to 30 megawatts in 1979-80. The second, assuming a shutdown in 1977, saw an increase to 25 megawatts by 1976-77, a sudden decline to 20 megawatts the following year, but increasing again to 24 megawatts by 1979-80. Under either scenario, peak demand would exceed the existing 20-megawatt capacity by the 3 -winter of 1974-75. This excess demand could i n i t i a l l y be met through expan-sion of the Yellowknife diesel plant, but even with this the situation would 4 become c r i t i c a l during the winter of 1976-77. Thus, by 1971 i t was concluded that large-scale expansion of the system was required. In planning for this expansion, NCPC faced three main areas of uncertainty. The f i r s t concerned the feas ib i l i ty of further hydro development as opposed to alternative means of generation. The second had to do with site location. The third centred around target date for completion. . i i ) Consideration of Alternatives It would appear that the principal alternative to hydro under con-sideration was large-scale expansion of diesel capacity. Steam and gas turbines were apparently given some i n i t i a l consideration,^ but were ruled out on the basis of the high cost of fos s i l fuels in the Yellowknife area and prohibitive transportation costs." The following parameters were used by NCPC in projecting comparative costs for expansion of the Snare hydro system and diesel expansion: 1) Construction of the Snare hydro development would begin in Apr i l , 1974 2) The Snare hydro project would be capitalized at prevailing (1973) interest rates 3) The operating costs for the new hydro development would not increase the existing system costs above expected inflationary trends 42 4) The capital cost of diesel instal lat ion is estimated at $225/kwh (1973), and projected to inflate at eight per cent annually 5) The diesel equipment would be amortized over fifteen years at interest rates near 1973 levels 6) Diesel fuel costs, averaging 3'2'c/gal. in 1973, would increase at an annual rate of eight to fifteen per cent. 7) Diesel efficiency is estimated at 15 kwh/gal. 8) Projected operations costs include salaries , travel expenses, maintenance, and parts replacement, with a projected annual inf lat ion rate of eight per cent. 9) Expected average available hydro generation from the existing Snare plants is 107 x 10"kwh annually 10) Present Value is calculated at an interest rate of 7%%"^  The f i r s t cost estimates, including comparative cost analysis of hydro and diesel expansion, were compiled by NCPC planning staff under Douglas Q Steen, and tabled internally on February 13, 1973. The hydro cost projections were rather crude, being derived from existing information on site conditions on the lower Snare, and estimates of quantities of materials needed, based on .9 . previous Snare projects and indexed for inf lat ion . At that time, the hydro alternative was calculated to be clearly more economical over an eight-year period, assuming the continued operation of the Giant Mine, though costs were projected to be roughly equal assuming a Giant shutdown.However , while the i n i t i a l outlay for a hydro-electric f a c i l i t y would obviously be greater than for a diesel plant of equal capacity, the cost of fuel o i l and mechanical main-tenance meant higher long-term operating costs for diesel , cancelling out i t s i n i t i a l cost advantage in the long term. More detailed comparative cost studies, making use of f inalized schemes and consulting engineer's estimates, were tabled in October 1973 and January 1974, the latter being submitted to the Water Board.1"1" These bore out the earl ier conclusions, but i t appears that by early 1973 the balance had been clearly tipped in favour of the hydro alternative. 43 According to the Engineering Report: Diesel generation plays a very important part in the present system, injecting power into the system for short periods during peak load conditions. Diesel plants offer better economy for such peaking require-ments because of the low capital cost of ins ta l la t ion , but as the load increases, the required '.diesel generation increases to a point where the hydro fixed costs are lower than the operating and main-tenance cost of the diesel plant. The Jackfish (Yellowknife) Diesel Plant burns "heavy X" fuel from Imperial's Norman Wells operation. The cost of this fuel", has risen this year (1973) to 31.86c a gallon compared to last year's price of 23.86c a gallon. This escalation in the fuel'.price is expected to continue to make the diesel alternative less attractive. The load forecast indicates that the hydro alternative would reach the "breakeven" point as compared to diesel in the winter of 1975-76, without any further increases in the price of diesel fuel.12 In addition to the lower Snare, several alternate sites were consid-ered for hydro-electric development during the early planning stages in 1972. The Cameron and Beaulieu Rivers were considered to be within economical trans-mission range, but were ruled out as possible sites due to lack of storage capacity. The idea of supplying Yellowknife from a plant on the Taltson was 13' rejected on the basis of long distance and high transmission costs. The La Martre River, which flows into the north arm of Great Slave Lake from the north-west, was also considered. The flow and available head were calculated to generate a potential forty megawatts, far in excess of the immediate needs of the Yellowknife area. Staging ( instal l ing only fourteen megawatts at f irs t ) was considered to be too costly on a per-unit basis, and transmission distance was seen as further undermining the feas ib i l i ty of the proposal.''"4 The poss ib i l i ty of developing potential upstream of Snare Rapids was examined, but in the end this , too was rejected: Sites upstream on the Snare were not attractive at the time since i t was believed that the requirement for 44 additional upstream storage on Indin and/or Snare Lakes could result in licencing delays and environmental restrict ions similar to those being experienced in the Yukon (Aishihik). The additional transmission distance from the load centre was another deterrent. Furthermore, the remoteness of the upstream sites was not part icularly conducive to plant operationsr 1^ Also considered was a scheme to divert water from the Emile River into the Snare and i n s t a l l a second turbine generator at Snare F a l l s . This was abandoned because of i t s ecological implications, l imitations in output, and because i t appeared to be less economical in the long run than a new down-stream plant.16 It was thus decided that a third hydroelectric development on the lower Snare, downstream from existing plants, presented the best alternative. Specific advantages cited included: 1) Minimal flooding and overall environmental impact 2) Proximity to the load centre, and u t i l i za t ion of the existing storage and river control regime 3) Proximity to existing plants, meaning ease of operation and maintenance 4) Relatively easy access to the s i te , resulting in reduced transportation costs 5) Easier scheduling of construction, due to location and easy access 6) Readily available river flow data and topographical information, which identif ied excellent potential for hydro development'17 Between the Snare Fal l s plant tai lrace and Marian Lake, the Snare descends a total of 26.5 metres. Most of this potential head (23.5m) occurs t upstream of Strutt Lake. Existing geological and topographical information indicated favourable conditions near Strutt Lake for dam construction, arid by February, 1973, the Strutt Lake area appeared to be clearly favoured by NCPC 18 as a site for a hydro development. Further studies were then undertaken to pinpoint the exact damsite and devise a general project layout. 45 The thifcHelemerit of uncertainty centred around the completion date of the project. Load forecasts projected that demand would outstrip the existing system's output by the winter of 1974-75. Since a hydroelectric plant could not possibly be constructed in time to meet this i n t i t i a l excess demand, the Commission decided to i n s t a l l an additional five megawatts of diesel generating capacity at Yellowknife as a temporary measure to meet pro-19 jected system loads. This additional diesel capacity, according to NCPC's forecasts, could be expected to suffice unt i l the winter of 1976-77. The Commission, then, was faced with a three-year time frame within which to complete the project. However, cost studies pointed to long term savings i f the development could be completed by December of 1975, a year ahead of the deadline dictated by projected demand: The analyses indicate that for Strutt Lake develop-ment capital costs of up to $16 mi l l ion , there is a 'long term' economic advantage for December 1975 commissioning vs. a December 1976 commissioning regardless of whether the approximately 5000 KW additional diesel instal lat ion of 1974/75 is mobilized or not. Using present value analysis, there is a weak case for the later commissioning of Strutt for a capital cost of over $14 mi l l ion , in that in the i n i t i a l years there are inherent savings, but 'break even' would occur within the f i r s t 15 years of capital write-off.20 It was estimated that a one-year delay would result in additional total system costs of about $60,000 through to 1980, with additional annual carrying charges of $60,000 to the end of the amortization period.21 i l l ) F irs t Project Proposal A tentative scheme for the development was drawn up by NCPC planning staff in early 1973. It featured adam'on'the Snare River just downstream from the outlet of Judd Lake, rais ing the water level to 183 m (the elevation of the Snare Fal l s ta i lrace) . It would create a reservoir 46 backing into Line Lake, v i a canal, where a second dam, with powerhouse, would be constructed. From the Line Lake dam, water would be channelled through a canal to Stru t t Lake, about 1/2 km away. The dams would be of r o c k - f i l l 22 construction. The plan would u t i l i z e 24.5 m of head, of which 1 m would 23 be obtained through the future lowering of Strutt Lake. Further conceptual design awaited d e t a i l e d s i t e i n v e s t i g a t i o n and engineering studies. iv) S i t e Investigation and Presentation of A l t e r n a t i v e Schemes The f i r s t i n v e s t i g a t i o n of NCPC personnel of the Stru t t Lake area took place between March 9 and 16, 1973, and was c a r r i e d out by Douglas Steen and Donald Maclntyre of the Edmonton head o f f i c e . A reconnaisance program was completed, consisting of a one-day helicopter survey of the s i t e , and a six-day ground survey to investigate general topographic conditions and record spot elevations. At the same time, an access t r a i l was cut through 24 from the Snare F a l l s gatehouse. On the basis of information obtained on t h i s f i e l d i n v e s t i g a t i o n , a number of changes were made to the preliminary scheme. I t was decided that the r i v e r closure dam be moved upstream to the outlet of Jiidd Lake, because of more favourable topographic conditions (the bedrock abutments to the dam were closer together) and that the power dam be moved away from the head of Line Lake closer to Strutt Lake, with the power house on the shore, e l i m i n -ating the need for a canal. The water flow would instead be channelled to 25 Strut t Lake v i a penstocks about 200 m long. In August, 1973, NCPC released a preliminary engineering report, Strut t Lake Hydro-Electric Project: Report on Preliminary Engineering  Investigation. I t presented a number of possible schemes. Two r i v e r closure damsites were considered; one at the outlet of Judd Lake, the other about 47 1/2 km downstream. The power dam w o u l d be c o n s t r u c t e d n e a r L i n e L a k e , e i t h e r a t the o u t l e t of t h e l a k e o r down towards S t r u t t L a k e , c o n n e c t e d t o a power-house on S t r u t t Lake by c a n a l , p e n s t o c k s , o r t u n n e l . A l s o m entioned as a p o s s i b i l i t i t y was a dam w i t h c o n t i g u o u s powerhouse 7.5 km downstream from th e o u t l e t o f Judd L a k e , though i t was f e l t t h a t f u r t h e r s i t e i n f o r m a t i o n was 2 6 needed b e f o r e t h i s a l t e r n a t i v e c o u l d be f u l l y e v a l u a t e d . A l s o , d u r i n g t h e l a t e summer of 1973, J.D. M o l l a r d and A s s o c i a t e s were r e t a i n e d f o r a i r photo i n t e r p r e t a t i o n and i d e n t i f i c a t i o n of c o n s t r u c t i o n m a t e r i a l s o u r c e s and p o t e n t i a l s o i l p r o b l e m a r e a s . I n e a r l y O c t o b e r , M o l l a r d w r o t e to Douglas S t e e n , NCPC's c h i e f o f p l a n n i n g , i d e n t i f y i n g t h r e e s i t e s f o r p o s s i b l e h y d r o development, t e n t a t i v e l y i d e n t i f i e d as 1)'Cowboy Lake ( o u t l e t o f Judd L a k e ) , 2) L i n e L a k e , and 3) F o r k R a p i d s (downstream on t h e Snare R i v e r ) . He i n d i c a t e d h i s p r e f e r e n c e , on t h e b a s i s of i n f o r m a t i o n a v a i l a b l e , f o r t h e " F o r k R a p i d s " s i t e , s i n c e i t p r e s e n t e d a s o l i d b e d r o c k f o u n d a t i o n f o r 27 t h e dam and p l e n t i f u l r o c k f o r c o n s t r u c t i o n p u r p o s e s . I n e a r l y September, W.F. K e l l y A s s o c i a t e s , c o n s u l t i n g e n g i n e e r s , were r e t a i n e d by NCPC t o produce a f e a s i b i l i t y s t u d y , w h i c h would e l a b o r a t e on NCPC's p r e l i m i n a r y d e s i g n s t u d i e s , and i n c l u d e a l t e r n a t i v e p o s s i b l e l a y o u t s , recommendations as t o t h e i r r e l a t i v e economy, and a p r e l i m i n a r y c o n s t r u c t i o n s c h e d u l e . ( K e l l y A s s o c i a t e s a l s o u n d e r t o o k a h y d r a u l i c model s t u d y , and t h i s 28 was p r e s e n t e d i n O c t o b e r . ) The F e a s i b i l i t y S t udy, p r e s e n t e d t o NCPC on November 15, 1973, p r e s e n t e d t h r e e schemes c o n s i d e r e d v i a b l e from an economic, e n g i n e e r i n g , and e n v i r o n m e n t a l s t a n d p o i n t (see F i g u r e 1 and Appendix 3 ) . The f i r s t scheme i n c l u d e d a dam a t the gorge about .5 km below the o u t l e t o f Judd L a k e , w i t h an a d j a c e n t dyke a c r o s s t h e v a l l e y b e l o w Cowboy L a k e , a s i d e c h a n n e l s p i l l w a y 48 at the southern end of the dam, a dam with contiguous powerhouse below Line Lake with a t a i l r a c e excavated to Stru t t Lake and a small canal cut between 29 Judd and Line Lakes. Ground reconnaisance indicated that the gorge s i t e was more s u i t a b l e for the r i v e r closure dam than the outlet of Judd Lake, on 30 account of shallower sediments (7 metres deep as opposed to 11 metres). The second suggested layout was s i m i l a r to Scheme I, except that the powerhouse was to be located on the shore of Stru t t Lake, connected to 31 the r e s e r v o i r by a penstock and a conduit i n rock. Scheme III consisted of a dam at the rapids near a natural fork i n the Snare River, with dykes to contain the r e s e r v o i r running 600 metres to the northwest, a side-channel spillway on the eastern side, powerhouse i n the riverbed, t a i l r a c e excavated to Strutt Lake, and a low dyke north of Line 32 Lake to contain Judd Lake. This a l t e r n a t i v e would create a much larger r e s e r v o i r , 5,800 acres as opposed to 1500 acres with the Line Lake-Judd Lake 33 proposals. The study concluded that none of the three possible schemes had a clear-cut economic advantage over the others. A l l three layouts involved dyking to contain the r e s e r v o i r , and t h i s would be p a r t i c u l a r l y extensive 34 with Scheme I I I . The construction of dykes on permafrost, the report warned, would be c o s t l y , and i t was further cautioned that: The behaviour of t h i s material under various conditions of surcharge cannot e a s i l y be predicted so that the present estimates for dams are based on the removal- of a l l over-burden to bedrock.35 K e l l y went on to urge that consideration be given to a plan of staged construction: Of the t o t a l a v a i l a b l e head, the f i r s t f i f t y or s i x t y feet can be dammed without great 49 expense — i t i s damming the l a s t twenty feet that appears at t h i s time to be r e l a t i v e l y c o s t l y . Since the f u l l generating capacity of the plant w i l l not be required immediately upon commissioning, a plan of staged construction would provide extra time for further study and observation of the behaviour of s o i l s i n the area. Furthermore, s u b s t a n t i a l sav-ings would be r e a l i z e d by postponing the outlay of money required:for the ultimate dam structures.36 Scheme I I I , i t was maintained, would lend i t s e l f most e a s i l y to such a plan of staged development, since there would be no need to deepen the Judd Lake-37 Line Lake canal, as there would be i f the other schemes were staged. The study included a preliminary construction schedule, which saw commencement of work on the project i n January, 1975 (nine months l a t e r than NCPC had o r i g i n a l l y desired), and commissioning i n March, 1977 ( f i f t e e n 38 months l a t e r ) . The estimated cost of developing the f u l l 23.5 metres of 39 head was $16,230,000. On October 16, 1973, members and s t a f f of the Northwest T e r r i t o r i e s Water Board were taken on a conducted tour of the e x i s t i n g Snare Hydro system 39 and the s i t e of the proposed Strut t Lake development. The following day, John Lowe, NCPC General Manager, Andrew Jones, Northwest T e r r i t o r i e s Regional Manager, P h i l i p Johnson, Superintendent of Operations, and Douglas Steen, accompanied by representatives of the consult-ing firms, appeared before the Board to present tentative plans for the pro-j e c t . They were advised by Board Chairman David Gee that the Board would have to wait for f i n a l reports and design data before i t could issue recommendations and schedule a public hearing. However, he promised that the Water Board would review the presentation and i d e n t i f y to the Commission areas that needed 41 further c l a r i f i c a t i o n . 50 Several Board members raised questions concerning the NCPC proposals. C D . Forbes of the Department of Public Works expressed the fear that the open channel through the ice-r ich valley between Line and Strutt Lake (under Scheme I) would melt permafrost and cause erosion of both the valley bottom and side slopes. C A . Lewis of Environment Canada maintained that the t a i l -race into Strutt Lake (Schemes I & II) would flush sediment from the lake bottom into the Snare River, with detrimental effects on downstream water quality. Concern was also expressed over the time frame and extent of the environmental impact studies (this w i l l be dealt with in detail!" later) , and the effects of vegetation clearance on s o i l s tabi l i ty and water quality.^ 2 These concerns were formally relayed to NCPC in a latter from David Gee to Andrew Jones, dated October 31, 1973. Gee asked that the Commission further study s o i l conditions in the Line Lake valley and the potential problem of s i l ta t ion downstream, as well as expand on i t s wi ld l i fe and vegeta-tion studies. It was requested that NCPC submit i t s plans for borrow p i t s , access roads, and disposal areas for assessment, as well as (on a confidential basis) capital cost details and cost comparisons, so that the Board could have a " fu l l perspective" on the project proposal. This reflected something of an act ivist perception of the Water Board's role on the part of the Chairman and some of the members, in that they desired to examine aspects of the project not direct ly covered in the Northern Indland Waters Act, though i t is not apparent that cost figures were considered in reaching the f i n a l decision. In November, after the completion of the Feas ib i l i ty Study, the finalized proposals (three schemes) were submitted to the Water Board, and discussion ensued between NCPC and the Board concerning the Commission's licence application. Of the three schemes outlined in the study, NCPC found Scheme I the most economically attractive, followed by Schemes II and III . 51 Figure 1 : Sketch Map 9 f Snare System-Showing Alternative Proposed Damsites 52 However, the Board reiterated i t s concern over the effects of the open t a i l -race through the Line Lake valley and over the prospect of s i l ta t ion from the flushing action of the outflow from the ta i lrace . Mr. Kelly countered that any resulting increase in the sediment load would be insignificant when com-pared to the existing amount of suspended sediment in the lake and river system, but the Board remained firm. Moreover, the Board ruled that NCPC's request for a licence could not be reviewed in i t s existing form ( i .e . three 44 alternative proposals), and would have to be re-submitted as a single scheme. With Schemes I and II judged unacceptable by the Water Board, (with-out costly modifications), the Commission saw Scheme III as the only viable alternative, and the proposed development became known as the Snare Forks pro-ject . Uncertainty s t i l l remained, however, regarding the type of structural designs which best suited conditions at the s i te . v) Site Conditions and Structural Design Problems Two factors strongly influenced the design of and choice of con-struction materials for the project: the remoteness of the site and the permafrost nature of the soi ls in the area. The remote location of the Snare meant that transportation of prefabricated materials such as concrete to the site in large quantities would have been prohibit ively expensive. Consequently, local ly available material would have to be ut i l i zed to the greatest extent possible, meaning that the dam would have to be of e a r t h f i l l or r o c k f i l l construction. The upstream Snare dams were of the rol led earth type (the most common design type in Canada), but Kelly maintained that this would be less pract ical at Snare Forks because of the excessive moisture content of the soi ls at the s i te . Condi-tions at the site of the planned new development, though, were considered ideal for r o c k f i l l construction: Conditions for a r o c k f i l l dam at the Snare Forks site are very favourable. As mentioned ear l i er , 53 a large amount of excavated rock w i l l be available for use in a dam. Secondly, the bedrock of the area pro-vides an excellent sol id foundation, essential for a strong r o c k f i l l dam* The rock types consist of grani-t i c intrusive and metamorphosed sedimentary. These are predominantly hard rock types and provide a strong r o c k f i l l section with very l i t t l e settlement during and after construct ion.^ It was also pointed out that rock, unlike e a r t h f i l l , could be dumped into the river without dewatering, and could be placed under a l l weather conditions, whereas a rol led earth dam could only be placed in dry,.above-freezing conditions (a very limited period in the Far Nor th . )^ Dyking presented a more complex problem, as this would have to be bui l t on permafrost, the ice-r ich overburden being up to 15m. thick. In late summer of 1973, Ripley, Klohn, and Leonoff, consulting geotechnical engineers, were retained by NCPC to undertake a test d r i l l i n g and s o i l sampling program, on the basis of which to provide advice on dam and dyke structures. Thirty five holes were d r i l l e d in the general area (eight at the Snare Forks site) 47 to determine s o i l depth to bedrock. The results of laboratory testing of the s o i l samples were released to NCPC on December 18, 1973. It was conduced that dyke s tab i l i ty would be a problem, due to slumping caused by degradation (thawing) of permafrost around the edges of excavations, but that this could 48 • be overcome through a careful choice of materials and dyke alignments. Kel ly , as we have seen, was at f i r s t suff iciently concerned with the uncertainties presented by permafrost conditions to suggest consideration of staged construction to enable further studies, as well as excavation of the dyke alignments to bedrock. Both recommendations were dropped with the tabling of the f ina l Engineering Report on January 9, 1974, the brief explanations being given that the former offered no tangible economic advantage while the latter was too c o s t l y . ^ In addition, the report contained a revised con-struction schedule that conformed more closely with the Commission's original 54 i 50 ' plans. As an alternative to founding the dykes on bedrock, Kelly now re-commended that a special type of structure, used in the Kettle and Kelsey developments in northern Manitoba, be adopted for the Snare Forks project. The design was described as follows: After the dam is bui l t and the reservoir flooded, the permafrost underneath the dam and reservoir begins to thaw. As free water percolates upwards, i t enters a pattern of sand drains. F ina l ly , the dyke i t s e l f , which is of semi-pervious material, allows the water to steadily migrate out of the downstream side of the dam. The dam cross-section is re lat ive ly wide and flat to compensate for the fact that the coefficient of internal f r i c t ion is low within the slowly thawing permafrost foundation. Thawing of the foundation occurs s l ight ly faster near the upstream side of the dam because of the proximity to reservoir water above freezing tempera-ture. This results in a closer spacing in the pattern of sand drains in this area. The entire dam, in a sense, functions as a reverse f i l t e r steadily bleeding off water from the thawing permafrost.. 51 The design, however, presented certain drawbacks, in that i t would require f a i r l y frequent maintenance: As time progresses the dam slowly settles and eventually requires the addition of more material to maintain a safe freeboard. Furthermore, sett le-ment can be expected to be non-uniform, i . e . less over areas of lower ice content. Judging by the behaviour of the Kelsey and Kettle dams, repair maintenance may be required at intervals of from two to six years. A program of test p i t excavation in the area of dykes on permafrost is recommended to provide a basis for predicting more accurately the expected rate of settlement of these dykes.52 The permafrost dyking scheme did, however, represent a substantial saving over construction of the dykes on bedrock. Estimates released in January, 1974, projected the total cost of the development to be $14,085,000," more than two mil l ion dollars less than the October 1973 estimates which had assumed excavation to bedrock. 55 The recommended program of test p i t t i n g and sampling along the pro-posed dyke alignments was begun on February 22, 1974, more than two weeks af t e r the public hearing before the Water Board, and was completed on March 27, several weeks a f t e r the Board decided i n favour of granting the water l i c e n c e , and only a few days before construction equipment was moved onto the s i t e . The program, under the supervision of Ripley, Klohn and Leonoff, was resumed on August 31 and concluded on October 1, 1974, j u s t before the f i n a l d e cision to relocate was made."*4 In general, NCPC's planning procedures concentrated on short-term rather than long-term objectives, presumably to allow the Commission f l e x i -b i l i t y when confronted with regulatory demands, economic f l u c t u a t i o n s , and other changing conditions, as w e l l as to minimize costs. Planning f o r the Snare Forks project did not begin u n t i l 1971, four years before the projected completion date. Technical studies were not commissioned u n t i l a f t e r the f i n a l d e c i s i o n to go ahead had been made i n early 1973. In other areas, though, the Commission's e f f o r t s to minimize costs increased r i s k s ; the decision to use a r e l a t i v e l y untried design for dyking on permafrost, rather than excavate to bedrock, as well as the dec i s i o n to proceed with construction before laboratory sampling of s o i l s along the dyke alignments was completed, represent examples. Another consequence of the pace of NCPC's planning process according to some was the f a i l u r e of the environmental impact study described below, to adequately cover a l l of the project's e c o l o g i c a l implica-tions . 2. Environmental Impact The res e r v o i r formed by the Snare Forks dam would have a surface area of 5,800 acres, and would reach upstream to the t a i l r a c e of the Snare 56 Fal ls dam. About 3,870 acres of land would be Inundated, as well as;.two small lakes, Cowboy Lake and Bow Lake. The project would also involve construction of 11 km. of new road for access, and 21 km. of transmission 55 . l ine to connect the development with the two upstream plants. In May, 1973, Pearse-Bowden Economic Consultants/Envirocon Ltd. was retained to conduct a detailed study of the environmental impact of the proposed development. Field work began in early June and continued through mid-October ,^° at which time a l l reports were submitted to the Water Board. Fie ld study ended at that time, as the Board concluded that winter studies of moose and caribou would not be required because of their apparent scarcity within the affected a r e a . ^ However, the abandonment of the Line Lake-Judd Lake schemes and decision to go ahead with the Snare Forks proposal meant that the report had to be rewritten, and hence i t was not tabled before the Water 58 Board in completed form u n t i l January, 1974, one month behind schedule. The principal findings and recommendations of the report were summarized as follows: 1) The proposed Strutt Lake hydroelectric development is small in scale, and i t s impact would not be fe l t over a wide area 2) There are no important h is tor ic or arch-eological sites which would be disturbed, and there are no established settlements, roads, or other structures which would be direct ly affected. 3) The local aquatic environment would under-go substantial changes. Judd Lake would be increased signif icantly in size (from a surface area of 750 acres to 5800 acres) and in volume, and some 7.5 miles of the Snare River would be inundated. Lake trout and lake whitefish would probably find the reservoir to be suitable habitat. The arct ic grayling which inhabit the free-flowing waters of the Snare River w i l l be displaced, and remnant populations are expected to survive only in the areas just downstream from the dam.-57 4) The reservoir would flood approximately 3,800 acres of land, which could support a population of 12 to 18 moose. Caribou have not wintered in the area in recent years, and the project would not be expected to affect their numbers. The population of other large mammals, waterfowl, and other birds w i l l in a l l l ikelihood be reduced loca l ly , but the reductions w i l l be small relative to the regional or continental population. 5) The project area l ies within the tradit ional terri tory of the Dogrib Indians and is some 50 miles from the major settlement of Rae. The Indian people do not rely heavily on the project area at present. It i s expected that the annual fur har-vests would be reduced by several pelts per year (sic) as a result of the project. The area is not re l ied on as a source of food, other than on an opportun-i s t i c basis by people who are travel l ing through i t . 6) If the proposed development proceeds, careful control during the pre-construction phase should be exercised over: - disturbance of nesting sites of eagles and other predatory birds - damage of riparian areas outside the reservoir area - garbage disposal - indiscriminate game harvests by construction workers 7) The overall impact of the project could be lessened or part ia l ly mitigated by: - contouring and establishing vegetation on borrowing and disposal areas - controlled clearing of the reservoir edge for aesthetic reasons and to encourage the development of favourable conditions for f ish - encouraging the growth of aquatic vegetation - providing increased flows to the western channel of the Snare River below the dam to ^ increase the habitat available for grayling. Both the interim and f ina l reports were subject to some cr i t i c i sm from members of the Water Board. It was felt that the material presented at the October 17-18, 1973 Board meeting did not adequately document the Line Lake Schemes' potential environmental damage. In addition to the concern expressed over s i l t a t i on , the point was raised that no plans for disposal of the 500,000 cubic yards of excavated material were included. The absence of waterfowl studies was also noted, and the Board agreed to request that Mr. 60 • Lewis have Environment Canada look into the matter. 58 The study was also called into question on the basis of the time frame within i t was conducted. Board Chairman David Gee, in his letter to NCPC of October 31, 1973, wrote: Very strong concern was expressed by the Board in regard to the time frame in which environmental studies were carried out. Studies which cover periods of less than one year were considered i n -adequate in that they did not take into account conditions under a l l seasons. It was recommended that a l l developers approach the Board well in advance of any proposed operation, allowing the Board to give guidance on what studies should be undertaken. By this method, some of the d i f f i -culties that might be suffered by the applicant when additional studies are requested by the Board could be eliminated.61 Off ic ia l s of Environment Canada, under the direction of i t s repre-sentative on the Water Board, C A . Lewis, set out to formulate i t s own set of recommendations to be presented at the public hearing, scheduled for February 6 2 < 6, 1974. However, because of the delay in completing the Pearse-Bowden study, the DOE paper could not be completed in time and was not tabled u n t i l the subsequent closed Water Board meeting. It accepted the conclusion of the former that overal l ecological disruption would be minimal and highly l o c a l -ized, that water quality would be only marginally affected, and added that impact on waterfowl populations would be minimal. However, i t warned that changes in flow patterns would threaten walleye spawning beds at the entrance to Strutt Lake, and that lake trout as well as grayling would be reduced with-in the 12 km. stretch of r iver to be flooded. Also, more was made of the Snare's recreational potential (and, hence, damage to i t ) than in the Pearse— Bowden study. On this basis, i t was recommended that approval of the licence application by the Water Board be conditional upon the maintenance of the existing seasonal flow pattern of the Snare, and the incorporation of the 59 following environmental design features into the project: a) i) Fe l l ing of a l l trees within the high water l ine of the reservoir whose tops rise above the 590' contour so that a l l remaining trees w i l l be sub-merged a minimum of 10 feet i i ) Clearing, p i l i n g , and burning a l l trees in areas below the high-water mark for 2,000 yards downstream of the Snare Fa l l s Power Station. This portion of the reservoir w i l l have higher ve loc i t ies , therefore a clearing would help to preserve portions of the grayling population i i i ) Clearing, p i l ing and burning of a l l trees along the east and south shorelines of Judd Lake, from the present lakeshore to two feet above the high water mark. This w i l l promote more rapid shoreline s tabi l izat ion and assist in the mainten-ance of the whitefish and lake trout populations in the reservoir iv) Establishment of a program to control and dispose of floating debris b) During construction, a l l normal land-use controls for waste disposal, s i t ing of roads, work camp operations, e tc . , should be imposed, including reclamation of disturbed land, borrow pits and removal of construction debris. c) The f a c i l i t y should be constructed and operated in such a manner as to permit the safe use by tourists and local residents for boating, hiking, and related ac t iv i t i e s . Provision should be made for the public use of the all-weather road proposed to be bui l t to the area. d) An attempt should be made to conserve and protect fish and wi ld l i fe populations and habitats in the vacinity of the development to prevent further losses in the future. 63 At about the same time, an Environment Canada Fisheries and Marine Service study on the effects of the proposed development on fish stocks in the Snare River and Judd Lake, by R.A. Cameron and Kenneth Weagle, was released. Its relevance was l imited, since the f i e ld studies were undertaken in September, 1973, and the authors assumed a Line Lake power dam s i te . O H None-theless, some of i t s recommendations, part icularly regarding vegetation clear-ance and minimum flows, were incorporated into the DOE environmental impact brief . 60 Concerns expresses over effects on walleye spawning grounds prompted the Water Board to request a detailed study of the species in the area from NCPC. This was done by Envirocon L t d . , and presented in July , 1974. It was concluded that very l i t t l e use was made by walleye of the affected reach of the Snare for spawning purposes. The Walleye Spawning Study was also called into question by members of the Water Board. An assessment of the study by an Environment Canada o f f i c i a l , Dr. Chang-Kue, suggested that the report could have been completed before the walleye spawning run. This point was raised at the subsequent meeting of the Water Board by Dr. W.H. Frost, the representa-tive from the Department of National Health and Welfare. The Board resolved to ask the Chairman to write NCPC informing ^hem of this allegation, and to require in the future that licence applicants submit the terms of reference for technical studies to the Board before they are undertaken.^5 The important points regarding the environmental impact of the Snare Forks project, then, relate to the time frame of the study and the process in general. At issue was not only the scope of the study i t s e l f , but allowance for independent assessments by third parties. Environment Canada had i n -tended to present such an assessment at the public hearing, but was prevented from doing so by the scheduling of the process.' As a result , the public's only source of information on the matter was NCPC's consultant. 3 . Licence Application and Public Hearing Formal application by the Northern Canada Power Commission for a water use licence was made on July 18, 1973. After presentation of tentative plans, and a tour of the proposed site by Water Board personnel in mid-October, i t was decided to schedule the public hearing, required under Section 15 of the Northern Inland Waters Act, for the f i r s t week of February, 1974. At the October Board meeting, NCPC proposed a public presentation of the hydro development plans to the (mostly native) residents of Rae-Edzo, with brochures 61 printed in the Dogrib language. This was endorsed by the Water Board. 0 0 After i t became apparent that the Environmental Impact Study would be completed a month behind schedule, C A . Lewis approached David Gee to defer the hearing, arguing that Environment Canada would be put in a d i f f i c u l t position with regard to producing i t s independent assessment. This request was turned down, part ia l ly on the grounds that notices for the hearing had already been posted. ^ v At the following Board meeting on January 17, 1974, Lewis strongly urged that in the future no public hearings be scheduled u n t i l the Board was in possession of a l l planning documents and other relevant information, in order to "allow adequate time for the public, the Board, and interested agencies to review the material prior to the hear ing ."^ NCPC representatives countered allegations that i t s insistence on early project approval was compromising the thoroughness of i t s planning in 69 • general and technical reports in particular by c i t ing Yellowknife growth projections (fifteen per cent per year) and cost figures showing a year's de-lay costing Yellowknife taxpayers $1,000,000 in additional diesel generation and an additional $160,000 each year thereafter because of escalating capital 70 costs. In order to meet i t s deadline, i t was argued, the Commission would have to begin moving equipment into the area by A p r i l , 1974, before spring break-up. The Commission received strong support in i t s position from the t e r r i t o r i a l government. At the f i f th (December 11-12, 1973) Water Board meet-ing, Northwest Territories representative Joseph Bergasse expressed the N.W.T. government's opposition to any "undue delays" in the issuance of the licence . 71 " "for. the project. The meeting of NCPC o f f i c ia l s with the residents of Rae-Edzo took place on January 7, 1974. Chiefs from Lac La Martre and Rae Lakes as well as Rae-Edzo attended. They requested reduced rates, and expressed concern about 62 NCPG's plans f o r lowering Stru t t Lake, and over s i l t a t i o n a l l e g e d l y taking place i n Marian Lake. Chief Arrowmaker of the Rae-Edzo band was encouraged by Mr. Gee, present along with other Water Board members as an observer, to 72 •' attend the p u b l i c hearing i n Yellowknife. The p u b l i c hearing took place as scheduled at the Yellowknife Inn, Yellowknife, on February 6, 1974. Business, environmental, and native groups were represented at the hearing. Of seven submissions from outside groups, four were from business i n t e r e s t s ; these were unanimous i n urging speedy approval and completion of the project. Anthony C. Rooney, president of P l a i n s Western Gas and E l e c t r i c , c i t e d consumption growth figures for Yellowknife, maintaining that no end was i n sight for the e x i s t i n g rapid growth rate. He also emphasized the need to have base load requirements f i l l e d by hydro power, as use of standby d i e s e l on a regular (as opposed to peak load) basis increased costs to the consumer, 73 p a r t i c u l a r l y at post-OPEC f u e l p r i c e s . Mr. Budgeon, president of the Yellowknife Chamber of Commerce, presented a b r i e f with a s i m i l a r message: The-Chamber of Commerce strongly recommends that the Northern Canada Power Commission be given approval immediately to proceed with the construction of the S t r u t t Lake Dam. . . . Our reasons for supporting t h i s project are purely economic. However, that i s not to say that we are not concerned with the environ-mental e f f e c t s of such a development. Studies i n the area reveal a mere s i x square miles of land w i l l be flooded and w i l l cause l i t t l e adverse e f f e c t on w i l d -l i f e or f i s h population . . . The project planned r e l i e v e s the burden of the severe f u e l problem (sic) now a matter of great concern. That NCPC i s proposing the use of water i s a c l e a r i n d i c a t i o n to us•• of t h e i r attempt to conserve our resources and at the same time avoiding a major cost increase to the public of e l e c t r i c a l power . . . there i s no doubt that without the addition of e l e c t r i c a l power to service Yellowknife, power costs could e s s e n t i a l l y double. The r e s u l t would 63 be a net increase i n p r i c e s on a l l our products and businesses. Further to t h i s i t would c e r t a i n l y i n h i b i t the development of e x i s t i n g businesses as w e l l as to discourage any investment i n our c i t y 7 ^ Neither Mr. Rooney nor Mr. Budgeon were questioned on t h e i r presenta-ti o n s . Their arguments were echoes i n an extensive b r i e f by George Florence of Giant Mines, as w e l l as i n submissions by A.D. McPhail of Cominco and Mayor Findlay of Yellowknife. ^5 • Natives i n the project area where represented by Chief Arrowmaker of the Rae-Edzo band, who claimed that the previous Snare developments had reduced f i s h stocks i n the r i v e r and were responsible f o r drops i n the l e v e l of Marian and Great Slave Lakes. Moreover, he maintained that the construction of transmission l i n e s a f t e r 1946 impeded the movement of moose and caribou. While he did not express opposition to the project as such, he complained about not being able to obtain s t r a i g h t answers from NCPC concerning lower rates or native employment on the project. ^ Gary Bowden countered the Chief's statements on the e f f e c t s of hydro development on hunting and f i s h i n g , by c i t i n g Canadian W i l d l i f e Service studies which showed the decline in the l o c a l caribou population to have begun a f t e r 1953, some years a f t e r construction of the Snare Rapids plant, and that t h i s was probably due to forest f i r e s and possible human d i s t u r -bance. He agreed with the chief that the two upstream developments probably contributed s i g n i f i c a n t l y to the decline of the l o c a l moose population by flooding habitat, but added that over-hunting had l i k e l y been the prime cause i n the area immediately adjacent to the proposed Snare Forks dam. Bowden also added that the area moose population was now depleted to the point that 7 7 flooding by the development would be of l i t t l e consequence. 64 Also c r i t i c a l of the NCPC proposal was a group c a l l i n g i t s e l f Ecology North, represented by Ronald Ramsey and N. Cameron. F i r s t , they c a l l e d into question the e n t i r e e x i s t i n g philosophy of northern development, charging that rapid economic growth, f a c i l i t a t e d by NCPC hydro expansion, was giving r i s e to unplanned urban sprawl i n Yellowknife and impairing the o v e r a l l q u a l i t y of l i f e . Secondly, concern was expressed over the f e a s i b i l -i t y of constructing dykes on permafrost ( i t was f e l t that the l i m i t e d ex-perience of Manitoba Hydro was not a s o l i d enough base on which to proceed), the e f f e c t s of diversion of the r i v e r flow down the west channel during con-s t r u c t i o n , and over the e f f e c t s of access road construction. The Ecology North submission recommended further studies on the permafrost and d i v e r s i o n questions, and c a l l e d for a two-year moratorium on construction, with load increases met by d i e s e l expansion. It also asked for more d e t a i l e d informa-t i o n on NCPC's future hydro development plans, and c a l l e d f o r the Commission to place a deposit with the Water Board to be a v a i l a b l e i n the event of a 78 : major e c o l o g i c a l accident. Mr. K e l l y r e p l i e d to the questions raised about permafrost dyking by saying that further s i t e i n vestigations by Ripley, Klohn and Leonoff should 79 resolve any remaining uncertainties regarding f e a s i b i l i t y and design. Mr. Gee agreed to have the Board look into the matter of a security 80 deposit at the upcoming meeting. (Section 13 of the Northern Inland Waters Act gives the Board the authority to require applicants "to f u r n i s h s e c u r i t y i n an amount determined by the Board, but i n no case s h a l l the amount exceed $100,000 or 10 per cent of estimated c a p i t a l cost of the work, whichever i s greater.") He was le s s agreeable, however, when Mr. Ramsey r e i t e r a t e d Ecology North's demand for published information on NCPC's future plans: I must say that i t i s not the r o l e of t h i s p a r t i c u l a r meeting to gaze into the c r y s t a l b a l l as to what NCPC 65 might or might not do. We are dealing with a s p e c i f i c a p p l i c a t i o n , and I think we should l e a v e . i t at t h a t . ^ x A planning r o l e f o r the Water Board was, i n other words, e x p l i c i t l y rejected. One government o f f i c i a l appeared to question NCPC on i t s proposal. Kenneth Weagle of the F i s h e r i e s and Marine Service, Environment Canada, asked about the e f f e c t s of the plant on downstream discharges, and about the e f f e c t s of d i v e rsion of the Snare through i t s s i l t - r i c h west channel (which i s u s a l l y dry except during peak flow periods) on downstream water q u a l i t y . Mr. Bowden responded to the f i r s t question by c i t i n g figures from the Engineering Report pointing to no s i g n i f i c a n t changes i n discharge patterns. Mr. K e l l y countered on the l a t t e r point, maintaining that any a d d i t i o n a l s i l t load would s e t t l e i n the normal sedimentary pools j u s t below the confluence of the forks and that, at most, only a small amount of very fin e p a r t i c l e s would f i n d t h e i r 82 way downstream to Slemon Lake. Only two Water Board members involved themselves i n the questioning to any degree. Both t h e i r questions re l a t e d to general NCPC matters rather than the Snare Forks proposal i t s e l f . CA. Lewis asked Douglas Steen about NCPC's long-range hydro development plans, the apparent lack of which he had c r i t i c i z e d the Commission for i n the past. Mr. Steen countered that the Commission was a c t i v e l y i n v e s t i g a t i n g a l t e r n a t i v e s for the 1980's, and that the La Martre River appeared at the moment to be the favoured a l t e r n a t i v e . A.K. Campbell, president of Giant Yellowknife Mines and a T e r r i t o r i a l representative on the Board, asked about the f e a s i b i l i t y of a g r i d connecting the Snare and Taltson systems (Yellowknife 1s power supply at that time rested precariously on a single transmission l i n e , as i t s t i l l does) to which Mr. Jones, the regional manager, r e p l i e d that jloads were not as yet s u f f i c i e n t to warrant such a move. 66 While a range of d i f f e r e n t i n t e r e s t s were represented at the hear-ing, t h i s range cannot be said to have represented a crossesection of i n t e r e s t s i n the Northwest T e r r i t o r i e s . Business groups had a disproportion-ate input, some others, such as household consumers or organized labour, were not represented. The problem of i n e q u a l i t y of access to resources also was apparent; while the environmentalist b r i e f r e f l e c t e d a f a i r command of relevant t e c h n i c a l information, the native submission appeared to be hampered by an incongruity between t r a d i t i o n a l knowledge and the t e c h n i c a l data pre-sented by NCPC. ' 4• Issuance of Licence A f t e r the public hearing, the Water Board s t a f f went to work on a draft l i c e n c e , which was c i r c u l a t e d among Board members several weeks l a t e r . The draft l i c e n c e came up for consideration at the following Board meeting on March 12, 19 7 4.8 5 The Water Board's Technical Committee, under the chairmanship of Arthur G. Redshaw, the C o n t r o l l e r of Water Rights, produced a set of general recommendations concerning the l i c e n c e , and these were presented at the meet-ing. The recommendations themselves were not part of the l i c e n c e , though points were included throughout i t . Some of the actual conditions placed on the l i c e n c e r e f l e c t e d concerns expressed at the public hearing and at previous Board meetings. (The Conditions were divided into three categories, General Conditions, Conditions Applying to Construction, and Conditions Applying to Operation.) The Commission was required to maintain minimum flows of 200 c f s during and a f t e r construction, to clear a l l trees within the flooded area whose tops extended above 590' (180 m), as w e l l as a l l shrubs and trees i n the flooded area 1,800 m downstream from the Snare F a l l s dam, and a l l shrubs and trees between the e x i s t i n g Judd Lake shoreline and elevation 602' (183.5 m) , and to undertake further studies on the e c o l o g i c a l e f f e c t s of the d i v e r s i o n of 67 the Snare through the west fork during construction. The t h i r d requirement was the cause of some discussion. Mr. Lewis maintained that i t was a stopgap measure, and that NCPC should have consid-ered the problem e a r l i e r . I t was f i n a l l y agreed, however, that t h i s require-ment not be included as a condition of the l i c e n c e , but rather be negotiated with the Commission. 8^ ( F i n a l studies on the d i v e r s i o n were submitted to 1 88' the Board i n e a r l y July.) 89 ' It was voted to approve the d r a f t l i c e n c e as amended. Several steps remained before the l i c e n c e could be f i n a l i z e d . F i r s t , the f i n a l d r a f t l icence was submitted to NCPC for possible further negotiation of terms. The land use implications of the licence were forwarded to DINA's Land Use Administrator, who would consider them and issue the f i n a l Land Use Permits. A f t e r the terms were agreed to by NCPC, the l i c e n c e was sent to Ottawa to be s c r u t i n i z e d by DINA's l e g a l advisor. Following f i n a l approval by the Board and signing by the Chairman, the l i c e n c e was signed by the 90 ' Minister, Jean Chretien, i n mid-May, 1974. 5 . Summary The i n s t i t u t i o n a l framework i s r e f l e c t i v e , to a considerable extent, of p l u r a l i s t assumptions, p a r t i c u l a r l y the Northern Inland Waters Act and i t s provision for interest-group input. NCPC has also taken i n i t i a t i v e s i n t h i s d i r e c t i o n , as evidenced i n i t s own p u b l i c meeting held at Rae-Edzo. The operation of these mechanisms i n the Snare Forks process, however, did not conform completely to c l a s s i c i a l models of pluralism. The majority of presen-tations from outside groups at the Water Board public hearing were from business i n t e r e s t s . There was no presentation from any group representing household consumers. A b r i e f was heard from an environmentalist group, but the group i n question (Ecology North) disappeared from public view shortly 68 after the hearing, and thus an established environmental lobby cannot be said to exist in the Northwest Terr i tor ies . Input from native groups was actively encouraged by both NCPC and the Water Board, but in practice this appeared to be confined to anecdotal evidence against the technical analysis of NCPC planners and consultants (as evidenced in the exchange between Chief Arrowmaker and Gary Bowden). The process appears to be weighted against certain broad "inclusive" interests; in many respects, i t presents a classic example of Olson's model. The Water Board appeared to take a relat ively narrow interpretation of i t s mandate, as defined in Section 9 of NIWA. A planning function was expl ic i t ly rejected by Mr. Gee at the public hearing. Thus, important questions relating to the project remained obscured from public view. This can be con-sidered significant when the above-mentioned lack of organization and technical expertise among the population is taken into account. The Environment Canada ecological assessment, which could have put some issues before the public at the hearing, could not be presented because of constraints posed by scheduling. Aside from the DOE paper, no outside technical expertise was brought into the picture; the studies of NCPC's own consultants constituted the only source of technical information on which the Board or the public could formulate judgments. The Commission's planning practices have characterist ical ly been based on short-term objectives rather than long-term strategy. Macleod notes: NCPC does not undertake . . . detailed environmental studies unt i l a f ina l decision is made on a project. By then pre-liminary engineering has been completed, and NCPC begins to urge the speedy completion of the project because of rapidly increasing needs and the r i s ing costs of construction. By this time perhaps only a year is l e f t , at the most, before the construction is to start.91 By the time Snare system expansion was contemplated in 1971, the Commission's load projections indicated that demands would exceed then-existing output within two years; diesel expansion was necessitated as an interim measure. There is also l i t t l e doubt that the speed of the planning process undermined i t s thoroughness and effectiveness, part icularly with regard to environmental impact assessments. Because of i t s desire for early project completion, the Commission decided to act against the i n i t i a l advice of the consulting engineer concerning dyke design and construction scheduling. The issues were not raised by the Water Board, either publicly or privately. 70 Notes to Chapter Three "Htf.F. K e l l y and Associates, S t r u t t Lake Hydroelectric Development: Engineering  Report, January, 1974, p. 15. 2 I b i d . 3 I b i d . 4 lb i d . ; see also Public Hearing Transcript, p. 15. ^Public Hearing Transcript, p. 18. ^Engineering Report, p. 13. 7J.M. Lowe, General Manager, NCPC, to Douglas Steen, Chief of Planning, NCPC, October 25, 1973. 8 Douglas Steen to George Olson, B. C h r i s t i e and J . Long, February 13, 1973. 9NCPC, Strutt Lake, March. 29, 1976, 6.1. "^Steen to Olson e t . a l . , February 13, 1973. n S t e e n to A.O. Jones, NCPC Regional Manager, NWT, October 5, 1973. 12 Engineering Report, p. 13. 13 Public Hearing Transcript, p. 19. "^Engineering Report, p. 13. "'""'Strutt Lake Hydroelectric Development, 1.1. 1 6 S t e e n to Olson e t . a l . , February 13, 1973; see also NCPC, The Proposed Strutt  Lake Hydro Scheme, March 15, 1973. 1 7Douglas Steen to J.M. Lowe, October 25, 1973. 18 Steen to Olson e t . a l . , February 13, 1973. 19 Public Hearing Transcript, p. 15. 20 Douglas Steen to J.M. Lowe, October 25, 1973. 21 Douglas Steen to A.O. Jones, October 5, 1973. 22 NCPC, The Proposed Strutt Lake Hydro Scheme, March 15, 1973, p. 1. 23 Engineering Report, p. 10. 24 The Proposed Strut t Lake Hydro Scheme, p. 1. 71 25 Ibid., pp. 3-6. 26 NCPC, Strutt Lake Hydroelectric Project: Report on Preliminary Engineering  Investigation, 4.3. 27 J.D. Mollard to Douglas Steen, October 9, 1973. 28 W.F. K e l l y Associates, Strutt Lake Hydroelectric Development: F e a s i b i l i t y  Study, November, 1973, p. 2. 29 Ibid., p. 27. 30 Ibid., p. 13. 31 Ib i d . , p. 27. 32 J Ibid. 33 Pearse Bowden, op . c i t . , p. 6. 34 F e a s i b i l i t y Study, p. 3. 35 Ibid., pp. 3,4. Ibid., p. 4. 3 7 I b i d . 38 Ibid., Appendix. 39 W.F. Ke l l y Associates, Consultant's Report on Strut t Lake: Investigation of  Job History and Cost Overruns, March 15, 1976, p. 12. 4°Minutes, NWT Water Board Meeting No. 4, October 17-18, 1973, p . l . 4^"Ibid. , p. 6. 4 2 I b i d . , p. 7, 8. 43 David Gee to A.O. Jones, October 31, 1973. ^Consultant's Report on Cost Overruns, p. 2. ^ E n g i n e e r i n g Report, p. 34. 4 " l b i d . , p. 35. 47 F e a s i b i l i t y Study, pp. 33-35. 4 8 E a r l e Klohn to Donald Maclntyre, December 18, 1973. 49 Engineering Report, p. 3. 72 " ^ I b i d . , Appendix. Ibid. 52 Ibid ., p. 37. 53 Douglas Steen to David Gee, January 3, 1974. 54 Klohn Leonoff International Ltd., Snare Forks Hydroelectric Development  (Report on S i t e Investigation), December 1974, p. 3. "^Pearse Bowden, o p . c i t . , p.6. Ibid. " ^ I b i d . , p. 1. 58 C.A. Lewis to DOE Regional Directors, December 19, 1973. 59 Pearse Bowden, o p . c i t . , p. 1. fin C.A. Lewis to DOE Regional D i r e c t o r s , October.23, 1973. 61 David Gee to A.O. Jones, October 31, 1973, p. 2. 6 2 Environment Canada, Consolidated Paper by Environment Canada Respecting  Ap p l i c a t i o n to the NWT Water Board Regarding Snare Rapids, Snare F a l l s and  Snare Forks, February, 1974. 6 3 I b i d . 64 R.A. Cameron and K.V. Weagle, The Impact of the Strut t Lake Hydro Project  on the Snare River, NWT, Environment Canada, F i s h e r i e s and Marine Service, 1974. "^Minutes, NWT Water Board Meeting No. 10, November 5, 1974, p. 15. ""Minutes, NWT Water Board Meeting No. 4, October 17-18, 1973, p. 10. 67 C.A. Lewis to DOE Regional D i r e c t o r s , December 19, 1973. "°C.A. Lewis to DOE Regional D i r e c t o r s , January 23, 1974, p. 1. 69 Lewis included the following comments i n h i s notes on the fourth Water Board meeting: I asked for an i n d i c a t i o n of how long t h i s expansion would s u f f i c e at the present rate of incrase i n demand - the answer was early 1980's. NCPC appears to have done very l i t t l e to date in.planning for that time. Of i n t e r e s t i s the f a c t that nearly 2 1/2 years ago NCPC started considering t h i s expansion while environ-mental impact work commenced th i s past August. C.A. Lewis to DOE Regional Directors, October 23, 1973. 73 70 I b i d . 71,„ 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 M i n u t e s , NWT Water Board M e e t i n g No. 5, December 11-12, 1973, pp. 3,4. I b i d . I b i d . I b i d . , P- 54. I b i d . , P- 59- 60. I b i d . , P- 62. I b i d . , P- 69- 72. I b i d . , P- 73. I b i d . , P- 77. I b i d . , P- 77. 82 M i n u t e s , NWT Water Board M e e t i n g No. 7, March 12, 1974, pp. 2-4, P u b l i c H e a r i n g T r a n s c r i p t , pp. 47-48. 84 I b i d . , p. 49. I b i d . , pp. 46-47. 85 I b i d . 86 I b i d . , p. 3. 87 M i n u t e s , NWT Water Board M e e t i n g No. 9, J u l y 9, 1974, p. 6. 88.,. 89 90 M i n u t e s , NWT Water Board M e e t i n g No. 7, March 12, 1974, p. 3. I b i d . M i n u t e s , NWT Water Board M e e t i n g No. 8, May 7-8, 1974, p. 6. 91 M a c l e o d , o p . c i t . , p. 42. 74 CHAPTER FOUR CONSTRUCTION AND COMPLETION This chapter covers events during the course of the construction of the Snare Forks project, as w e l l as events d i r e c t l y r e l a t e d to the outcome i n the period immediately following completion. 1. Beginning of Construction Late i n 1973, NCPC o f f i c i a l s met with representatives of Poole Con-s t r u c t i o n Ltd. of Edmonton to obtain current construction b i d estimates, based on quantities of materials i d e n t i f i e d i n the F e a s i b i l i t y Study. These estimates provided a basis for l a t e r cost p r o j e c t i o n s . 1 Tenders were c a l l e d i n January, 1974, (four months before f i n a l approval of the l i c e n c e ) . These were arranged by the consulting engineer, Mr. Ke l l y , though NCPC management p a r t i c i p a t e d i n b i d evaluation. I t was concluded that the Commission could save money by purchasing i t s own construction equip-ment and materials, including l i g h t trucks, camp, warehouse, and storage f a c i l i t i e s , as w e l l as raw materials and heavy equipment. No bids were received on a general contract c a l l , so i t was decided that the Commission would h i r e 2 i t s own personnel and act as i t s own general contractor. Heavy equipment and camp f a c i l i t i e s were moved onto the s i t e i n early A p r i l v i a a winter road ( t h i s had to be completed before spring break-up i f construction was to proceed during 1974) . Actual construction work began i n May a f t e r the signing of the Licence and the issuance of Land Use Permits. By July, the work camp had been set up, the access road and a i r s t r i p had been completed, and the diversion channel to the west fork had been blasted open. Construction crews were, however, impeded by record l e v e l s of summer r a i n f a l l (almost three times the normal amount according to records kept at Snare Rapids and Yellowknife) which turned the road beds to quagmire, r e s u l t i n g i n a need for tens of thousands of cubic yards of a d d i t i o n a l quarry rock for s t a b i l i z a -t i o n . The excess runoff caused the r e s e r v o i r to f i l l , and regulation of the r i v e r proved impossible as average d a i l y flows reached 6700 cfs (about four times normal). Larger cofferdams were needed, and these i n turn required ad-d i t i o n a l quantities of rock and gravel. Many thousands of cubic yards of rock, gravel and sand for construction were washed downstream. Inadvertent removal of t o p s o i l during a i r s t r i p construction resulted i n thawing of permafrost and s t a b i l i t y problems. Here again, a d d i t i o n a l materials were required to r e c t i f y 3 the s i t u a t i o n . At the same time, two other major problems were developing at the s i t e which would r a d i c a l l y a l t e r the outcome of the project. 2. The Mining Claim On June 27, 1973, NCPC f i l e d a p p l i c a t i o n f o r a land reservation i n the area of the proposed development with the Supervisor of Lands, Department of Indian and Northern A f f a i r s , Yellowknife. A revised a p p l i c a t i o n was f i l e d on December 6, 1973, a f t e r the Line Lake schemes had been abandoned and the Snare Forks s i t e decided upon. The Supervisor of Lands, Mr. N. Adams, acknow-ledged the a p p l i c a t i o n but did not issue a d e c i s i o n . I t was apparently assumed at the time that the reservations would be granted when the f i n a l exact f l o o d -4 ed area was delineated. As a matter of routine, NCPC personnel moved to check the p o s s i b i l i -ty of e x i s t i n g land claims within the area to be reserved. On December 18, 1973, Donald Mclntyre of the NCPC Edmonton o f f i c e wrote to P h i l i p Johnson at the Yellowknife regional o f f i c e , asking him to investigate the p o s s i b i l i t y of mining or other claims. No reply was received, but Mr. Johnson l a t e r maintain-ed that he had contacted Mr. Adams, who r e f e r r e d him to the Mining Inspector, Mr. M. Brown, who was to report back to NCPC. No reply was received, even a f t e r several call-backs by Johnson. A second check was made i n l a t e February, 76 1974, when Mr. Lowe asked Joseph Long, the Assistant General Manager for Planning, to confirm that a l l reservations were i n order. Mr. Long discussed the matter with Douglas Steen, who assured him that the matter had been taken . 5 care of. At that point the matter was apparently forgotten and construction plans proceeded. In l a t e May, 1974, however, Trigg-Wollett and Associates, Geological Engineering Consultants, of Edmonton, acting on behalf of the Anglo-United Development Corporation of Toronto, contacted the NCPC head o f f i c e by telephone informing i t of possible mining claims e x i s t i n g within the reserved area. Mineral claim documents forwarded to NCPC on July 18 revealed that the reser-v o i r behind the Snare Forks dam would flood about 570 acres (one third) of Anglo-United's mining claim, which was situated around Camp Lake beside the Snare River.^ On July 9, David Gee, acting i n his capacity as Regional Manager of Water, Lands, Forests, and Environment, DIAND, telephoned the Commission o f f i c e s and announced that no authorization to flood land would be granted u n t i l the mining claim issue was resolved. On July 26, he wrote to J.M. Lowe, advising him that a Water Licence does not automatically e n t a i l land r i g h t s , and that Land Use permits authorizing construction did not include the ri g h t to flood land - the l a t t e r was the r e s p o n s i b i l i t y of the applicant. Approval i n NCPC's case, he went on, must derive from a permanent a l i e n a t i o n of lands under the T e r r i t o r i a l Land Use Regulations. 7 The Department apparently took the view ':' that the claim was a matter to be worked out between NCPC and Anglo-United, and took a hands-off approach. On Ju l y 31, the Commission contacted Anglo-United by l e t t e r , and a meeting was arranged between representatives of the two for August 8. Here i t was revealed that the mining claim dated back to 1959. The meeting was i n -conclusive, as Anglo-United refused to r e l i n q u i s h i t s claim without compensa-t i o n . 8 77 On September 6, Elizabeth Kroon, NCPC Planning Geographer, was contacted by B. Williams, DINA Mining Recorder, who suggested that the Commission required a land reservation by Order-in-Council. (This was con-firmed by the Assistant Deputy Minister, A. Di'gby Hunt i n a l e t t e r to John Lowe.) He also revaled that a claim had been staked within the reserved area (though not within the area to be flooded) i n March, 1974, and went on to state that even i f the Commission had obtained the land reservation through the Supervisor of Lands, t h i s would have been a reservation "by notation" only, and 9 would not have prevented claim staking. During the f a l l of 1974, the Commission approached DIAND for an Order-in-Council, but was informed by a senior DIAND l e g a l advisor, P i e r r e E. Cote, that an Order could not be issued u n t i l a formal agreement was reached between NCPC and Anglo-United. At t h i s time the Commission retained the services of a mining consultant, Walter Clarke of Precambrian Shield Resources Ltd., i n order to obtain an independent assessment of the value of the mining claim. The estimates were s u f f i c i e n t to induce NCPC to look at a l t e r n a t i v e schemes that would eliminate or minimize flooding of the mining property."^ The problems appeared to be rooted i n crossed signals between NCPC and DIAND, and i n a lack of f a m i l i a r i t y among NCPC s t a f f with the recently amended T e r r i t o r i a l Land Use Regulations, which decentralized procedures by putting land reservations i n the hands of DIAND's Yellowknife Regional O f f i c e rather than Ottawa. Assessing these developments i n l a t e October, 1974, George Olson, NCPC Special Projects Manager, wrote i n a memorandum to J.M.LLowe: It seems clear that no one at NCPC considered the claims i n the area to be a v i a b l e mining prospect and as a r e s u l t the e a r l i e r b r i e f mention of mining claims was not adequately followed up . . . to learn at such a l a t e date that the reservations on which planning, engineering Water Board hearing presentations, and construction 78 to date have been based, were almost meaningless, was an almost incomprehensible happening which should be avoided i n the future . . . Included i n Olson's memorandum were a number of recommendations. In general he advised that "NCPC should set up an orderly and reasonable time schedule f o r the development of hydro s i t e s " and that cl o s e r coordination be maintained between long range forecasting, planning, and construction. Speci-f i c a l l y , i t was recommended that, a) NCPC should apply f o r a land reservation by Order-in-Council at least f i v e to s i x years p r i o r to estimated commissioning date; t h i s Order-in-Council should expressly state that the area applied f o r i s withdrawn from mineral claim staking, and, b) that NCPC should, immediately upon receipt of the above noted reservation, search out and assess the s i g n i -ficance of any other reservations, claims, leases, timber r i g h t s , trap l i n e s , 12 etc., that may give r i s e to a c o n f l i c t . 3. S t r u c t u r a l Problems As previously mentioned, test d r i l l i n g and s o i l sampling to determine permafrost and bedrock conditions along the proposed dyke alignments began a f t e r the P u b l i c Hearing, and was completed a f t e r Water Board approval of the licence a p p l i c a t i o n (and only days before construction equipment was moved onto the s i t e ) . The dyke alignments had not been f i n a l i z e d at the time of project ap-proval, so part of the purpose of the t e s t - d r i l l i n g program was to determine the 13 f i n a l , optimal dyke alignment. The findings of the geotechnical consultant were far from encouraging. The r e s u l t s of the t e s t - d r i l l i n g program indicated that large and abrupt changes i n bedrock elevations existed, and that t h i s would preclude the construction of dykes on permafrost s i m i l a r to those i n the Manitoba Hydro developments. D i f f e r -e n t i a l settlement of the thawing permafrost over short distances, combined with 79 the thawing of the highly p l a s t i c l a c u s t r i n e clay overburden by the r e s e r v o i r water, would tend to r e s u l t i n transverse cracking of the dykes, giving r i s e to i n s t a b i l i t y . The consultant recommended, then, that the dykes be founded on s o l i d bedrock, as proposed o r i g i n a l l y i n the F e a s i b i l i t y Study. This would have to be done i n winter, since permafrost excavation becomes nearly im-possible during the warmer months. In cold weather, i t i s s t i l l d i f f i c u l t and 14 highly expensive. The amount of material that would have to be moved at Snare Forks was considered to be f a r i n excess of the capacity of a v a i l a b l e equipment at the s i t e . A d d i t i o n a l equipment would have to be moved i n to complete the work i n one winter, adding at l e a s t several m i l l i o n d o l l a r s to the o r i g i n a l 15 cost estimates. The geotechnical consultants also dictated a change i n plans f o r the construction of the main dam, advising that i t would have to be b u i l t i n the dry, with fine-grained channel sediments excavated to bedrock, and not, as proposed i n the Engineering Report, by dumping coarse r o c k f i l l across the r i v e r and sealing with successively f i n e r material dumped upstream. A lack of s u f f i c i e n t s u i t a b l e f i l l material near the s i t e made the K e l l y proposal im-16 p r a c t i c a l . This too would s i g n i f i c a n t l y increase t o t a l costs. 4. Decision to Relocate The prospect of an i n d e f i n i t e delay i n construction, r e s u l t i n g i n m i l l i o n s of d o l l a r s i n a d d i t i o n a l overhead and d i e s e l generation costs, as w e l l as the l i k e l i h o o d of an a d d i t i o n a l outlay of several m i l l i o n s for s t r u c t u r a l design changes, led NCPC to consider r a d i c a l a l t e r a t i o n s to the project design by September 1974. A memorandum from Douglas Steen to Joseph Long, George Olson, and Bruce C h r i s t i e dated September 30, 1974, presented two a l t e r n a t i v e s . The f i r s t involved moving the damsite upstream towards the outlet of Judd Lake; the second consisted of a staging plan to develop the 23.5 metres of head i n 80 two s i t e s , the f i r s t stage c o n s i s t i n g of a dam on the Snare j u s t above Strutt Lake, 1.4 km downstream from the e x i s t i n g s i t e (14.6 m head), and the second stage u t i l i z i n g the remaining 9.2 m,at a s i t e near a seri e s of rapids about 3 km downstream of the Snare F a l l s p l a n t . 1 7 Steen c l e a r l y favoured the l a t t e r a l t e r n a t i v e . The Judd Lake option, i t was pointed out, would e n t a i l abandoning the e x i s t i n g campsite and other works and b u i l d i n g new structures at the upstream s i t e at an estimated cost of $2 m i l l i o n and several months construction time. The downstream a l t e r n a t i v e , on the other hand, would u t i l i z e the e x i s t i n g work camp and diversion channel, and, i n addition, would flood only a small portion of the claim property, e l -iminating access problems, would reduce the need for c l e a r i n g of vegetation, and would cost about the same as the e x i s t i n g Snare Forks scheme (now estimated 1 Q at $17 m i l l i o n ) . At f i r s t , three possible combinations were considered to develop the f u l l 23.8 m of head, with 11.9 m, 14.6 m or 16.2 m of head at the lower s i t e , with the remainder to be captured at the upper s i t e . It was decided that 14.6m represented the optimum amount of head to be developed at the lower s i t e ( t h i s would bring the rese r v o i r l e v e l to 174.5 m, or 570'). This a l t e r n a t i v e appeared to be the most economical i n terms of cost i n mills/kwh, and best suited the turbine units a v a i l a b l e (lower head would have meant a loss i n e f f i c i e n c y or possibly a need to order new turbine u n i t s ) . Moreover, permafrost dyking and flooding of the mining claim would be minimized (both would s t i l l be s i g n i f i c a n t 19 i f the higher head were developed). A d d i t i o n a l head (3 m) could be obtained i n the future by means of b l a s t i n g open the rapids above Slemon Lake, thereby lowering the l e v e l of Strut t Lake, followed by lowering of the relocated plant's t a i l r a c e . As completed, the plant, with 14.6 m of head, would produce a maximum output of 4.8 MW from 81 each turbine u n i t , or 9.6 MW t o t a l - compared with 7 MW each (14 t o t a l ) under the o r i g i n a l plan. On November 19, 1974, J.M. Lowe and Walter Clarke presented the r e l o c a t i o n scheme to Anglo-United o f f i c i a l s , who reacted favourably. Under the revised plans, about 213 acres of the claim would s t i l l be flooded, but access 21 problems for the mining company would be eliminated. 5. A p p l i c a t i o n for Licence Amendment Further reconnaisance of the s i t e was undertaken, and design d e t a i l s further developed. On November 5, 1974, NCPC o f f i c i a l s presented t h e i r plans before a meeting of the Water Board. John Lowe began the presentation by o u t l i n i n g the problems encountered with the e x i s t i n g scheme, in c l u d i n g adverse summer weather conditions, perma-fr o s t dyking problems, p o t e n t i a l l i t i g a t i o n stemming from mining claims, and lack of gravel near the s i t e . He then launched into a d e s c r i p t i o n of the Commission's alternate proposal. At t h i s point the Water Board Chairman, M.J. Morrison, asked for c l a r i f i c a t i o n as to what NCPC was a c t u a l l y applying f o r . Mr. Lowe r e p l i e d that the Commission was applying f o r "approval i n change of concept" from a one-stage development as licenced to a two-stage development as presented. Mr. Morj-ison indicated that the l i c e n c e would have to be amended because of the changes i n elevation from the e x i s t i n g licenced scheme. He referred to Section 15 (2)(c) of the Northern Inland Waters Act, which s t i p u l a t e s that public hearings must be held i n connection with amendment of as well as issuance of water use l i c e n c e s , barring s i t u a t i o n s that are declared emergencies by the Board with the consent of the Minister. The Chairman further added that he f e l t that the Board had a r e s p o n s i b i l i t y to the public i n t h i s matter, and that i f the Commission wished to circumvent a second public hearing, i t would 22 have to prove to the Board that an emergency indeed existed. 82 The Board resolved to ask for the following from NCPC: 1) a conceptual review of h y d r o - e l e c t r i c development between Snare F a l l s and Slemon Lake 2) a complete review of the circumstances which led to the r e l o c a t i o n plans 3) a d e t a i l e d reclamation plan to restore the area .'disturbed i n accordance with Part A, Section 4 of the Licence 4) immediate submission of f i n a l i z e d design plans and construction drawings of the "lower s i t e " develop-ment 5) immediate engineering data on the "lower s i t e " development 6) a formal request from NCPC f o r amendment of t h e i r present licence 7) a d e t a i l e d j u s t i f i c a t i o n from NCPC as to why the s i t u a t i o n should be considered an emergency under Section 15 (2)(c) of the NIWA. On December 10, the Commission tabled a report e n t i t l e d "Snare River Hydro Development Below Snare F a l l s Plant" with the Water Board, included a conceptual review, a summary of the reasons for r e l o c a t i n g the dam, design d e t a i l s and geotechnical data, an attached formal a p p l i c a t i o n f or a l i c e n c e amendment, and a l i s t of reasons as to : why the e x i s t i n g s i t u a t i o n consituted an emergency. These included 1) a d d i t i o n a l d i e s e l generating costs of $40,000 to $130,000 a month a f t e r August 1976, 2) a d d i t i o n a l carrying charges on c a p i t a l expenditures of $50,000 per month, 3) camp maintenance costs, including over-head and skeleton s t a f f , of $80,000 per month, and 4) possible d i s r u p t i o n of 24 orders for equipment and materials. In January, 1975, the Commission f i n a l l y obtained i t s Land Reserve. Since formal agreement with Anglo-United, which would have f a c i l i t a t e d an Order-in-Council, had not as yet been concluded, Mr. Lowe wrote to Mr. Hunt, 25 asking for a land reserve by "administrative a c t i o n . " This request was granted, with the area of the reserve redefined to exclude several blocks of . . , . 26 active mining claims. 83 NCPC's a p p l i c a t i o n f o r a licence amendments came before the Water Board at i t s meeting of February 5, 1975. Arthur Redshaw, Commissioner of Water Rights and chairman of the Water Board Technical.Committee, presented-the Committee's recommendations on the matter. These included a c a l l f o r a second public hearing, and a recommendation that NCPC be required to f i l e an e n t i r e l y new a p p l i c a t i o n f o r a water l i c e n c e , rather than an amendment to the e x i s t i n g l i c e n c e . Mr. Redshaw expressed concern that the'public would be denied i t s r i g h t to know should the s i t u a t i o n be declared an emergency and the public hearing waived. He further stated that the Committee was concerned with NCPC's future plans f o r lowering Strutt Lake. Mr. Morrison countered that the public could be kept informed through the e x i s t i n g "community consultation" process, and that NCPC's required a p p l i c a t i o n for a Land Use permit would be p u b l i c i z e d . Mr. Bergasse informed the other Board members that he had been asked by the Deputy Commissioner of the Northwest T e r r i t o r i e s to support NCPC's a p p l i c a t i o n , as the T e r r i t o r i a l government f e l t the need f or completion of the plant should 27 be treated as an emergency. CA. Lewis again attacked the Commission f or poor planning, which he argued lay at the root of the current problems. E.W. Humphrys, the Department of Transport representative, came to the defense of NCPC, s t a t i n g that planning was made very d i f f i c u l t by conditions i n the North, and repeating the Commise. • sion's argument that delay would mean f a i l u r e to meet the 1976-77 winter peak without extensive and c o s t l y use of d i e s e l f a c i l i t i e s . He warned that the Water Board would bear the brunt of public c r i t i c i s m a r i s i n g from rates increases 28 should i t delay the a p p l i c a t i o n . It was agreed by a l l the s i t t i n g Board members (including Mr. Lewis, despite expressed reservations about the amendment being a "band-aid" approach) that an emergency did e x i s t , and the NCPC a p p l i c a t i o n f o r a li c e n c e amendment 84 29 was passed unanimously. However, the Commission's a p p l i c a t i o n consisted only of a written request f o r an amendment, and had not f i l l e d out a f u l l a p p l i c a -t i o n . It was agreed to ask NCPC to fur n i s h the l a t t e r and t h i s was done on February 13. The Chairman also informed Mr. Lowe that the amendment did not commit the Board to approval of any a d d i t i o n a l changes to the Snare system ( i . e . the proposed lowering of Strutt Lake), and that f u l l a p p l i c a t i o n must be 30 furnished f o r any such development. The a p p l i c a t i o n was then forwarded to Ottawa, and on February 27 the Minister, Judd Buchanan, informed the Board that he concurred with i t s assessment of the s i t u a t i o n as c o n s t i t u t i n g an emergency, 31 and had thus approved the amendment. Public notice of the a p p l i c a t i o n for the amendment, i n the Edmonton Journal, News of the North (Yellowknife) and the Rae-Edzo News was given on March 5, almost a week a f t e r formal approval by the Min i s t e r . The events leading up to the amendment were revealed i n the press f o r the f i r s t time the 32 next day. 6. Description of Revised Scheme i ) Dams The main powerhouse dam, now known as the Strutt Lake dam, was to be located at a narrow point i n the r i v e r near the entrance to Strutt Lake, about 1.3 km downstream from the Snare Forks s i t e . S o l i d abutments would be provid-ed by rock outcrops on both sides of the r i v e r , and the dam's proximity to . . 33 Strutt Lake would keep t a i l r a c e excavation requirements to a minimum. The dams would be constructed of r o c k f i l l , and sealed with compacted 34 s i l t on a gravel f i l t e r zone, as under the o r i g i n a l scheme, i i ) Spillway The spillway, as under the o r i g i n a l plan, would be of a side channel overflow type, s p i l l i n g into the di v e r s i o n channel through the west fork of the 85 r i v e r . The overlow section would be about 145 m long, and the spillway would allow maximum re s e r v o i r l e v e l s of 175.3 m with a dam crest e l e v a t i o n of 177 m. i i i ) Intake The intake structure was designed to be founded on bedrock as close as possible to the powerhouse, and where a minimum of excavation would be r e -quired. In i t s p r i n c i p a l design d e t a i l s , including trash racks, gate hoist house, gate gains, h o i s t housing, a i r vent shafts, and water l e v e l i n d i c a t o r , the intake i n the revised scheme would be e s s e n t i a l l y s i m i l a r to that of the 36 o r i g i n a l . (see Appendix C ) . iv) Penstocks The two penstocks would be constructed of 1/2" t h i c k f i b r e g l a s . The i n i t i a l design, which c a l l e d f or welded s t e e l construction, was abandoned as i t was found that f i b r e g l a s construction would cost roughly h a l f the amount required f o r s t e e l . Cost analyses, which compared incremental costs f o r pen-stock length with corresponding savings i n t a i l r a c e and powerhouse excavation, coupled with r e l a t i v e values of hydraulic e f f i c i e n c y , indicated that the pen-stocks should be as short as possible. Throughout t h e i r length the penstocks would be covered by dyke material or b a c k f i l l s u f f i c i e n t to eliminate any - . T 37 requirement for i n s u l a t i o n . v) Powerhouse As under the o r i g i n a l scheme, the powerhouse superstructure would consist of a s t e e l frame with a metal sandwich w a l l and metal deck cladding. The general layout was designed around two used turbine generator u n i t s pur-38 chased from Ontario Hydro. Capacity flow was rated at about 1600 cfs for each of the two turbine u n i t s , compared to 1525 cfs for each of the upstream plants. This would re-quire c a r e f u l i n t e g r a t i o n of the amount of water passed through each of the 86 four units to avoid wastage. Heavy demand would r e s u l t i n the lowering of the r e s e r v o i r l e v e l , and the storage would have to be replenished during periods 39 of l i g h t load. Maximum d a i l y f l u c t u a t i o n would be about one foot. The t a i l r a c e was designed to r i s e during peak flow periods when water l e v e l s r i s e a l l the way downstream to Marian Lake. This would diminish power output somehwat, but only for b r i e f periods during the summer when demand i s low. The design placed the powerhouse sump and draft tube dewatering pump between the two s c r o l l cases and a short distance d i r e c t l y downstream from the centerline of the u n i t s . The service pumps and a i r compressor would be located on the turbine f l o o r l e v e l , and these f i x t u r e s , as w e l l as a l l water piping, would be placed so as to avoid the p o s s i b i l i t y of being frozen by the a i r , . . . 41 cooling system i n winter. v i ) Estimated Cost The estimated cost for the lower s i t e development i n November, 1974, 42 was $13 m i l l i o n . 7. Completion of Construction Construction proceeded r e l a t i v e l y smoothly through 1975. Excavation of the Strutt Lake dam began i n A p r i l and work on the Snare Forks dam commenced i n June. The only s i g n i f i c a n t problem encountered concerned b l a s t i n g of the spillway channel; t h i s was halted i n May a f t e r b l a s t i n g a c t i v i t y resulted i n 43 cracked rockface and rock f a l l i n g into the diversion channel. Work on the 44 penstocks was near completion by December. Cost estimates, however, climbed s t e a d i l y throughout t h i s time. The November 1974 estimate for the lower s i t e , at $13 m i l l i o n , was lower than the o r i g i n a l project cost estimate, t h i s being l a r g e l y due to i t s smaller scale and savings on dyke construction. In March, 1975, however, the estimate given by 87 Douglas Steen to the Toronto Globe and M a i l was $18 m i l l i o n . Costs incurred by r e l o c a t i o n included camp maintenance expenses (estimated at about $300,000), as w e l l as i n t e r e s t on c a p i t a l and costs of reclamation (as required under the amended l i c e n c e ) . The Commission's Northwest T e r r i t o r i e s Regional Manager, Anthony Yewchuk, t o l d an interviewer from the Edmonton Journal that r e l o c a t i o n costs would be " u n l i k e l y " to run into the m i l l i o n s of d o l l a r s . ^ 7 Outside economic forces were having a more s i g n i f i c a n t e f f e c t , as high i n f l a t i o n rates characterized a l l sectors of the national economy through 1974 and 1975, the construction industry being e s p e c i a l l y hart h i t . Relations between NCPC and the l o c a l news' media were often strained during 1975. A f t e r r e v e l a t i o n of the s i t e problems, the Commission was attack-r-ed i n News of the North e d i t o r i a l s f or incompetence. In an interview with the Yellowknife weekly, NCPC comptroller Albert Watkiss offered the defense, " i t ' s a smart engineer who has the courage to change a plan when more information 48 becomes a v a i l a b l e . " Other NCPC personnel, i t appears, were somewhat l e s s gracious, and an e d i t o r i a l i n the same issue complained that Snare Forks Project Manager B i l l J u l i e n was "rude and uncouth" when approached by a News of the 49 North reporter. A f t e r the winter slowdown, major construction work resumed during the spring of 1976. By t h i s time, however, the cost estimate had r i s e n to to $24,050,000."^ The access road to the upper s i t e was completed by A p r i l : t a i l r a c e excavation was f i n i s h e d i n June, and the transmission l i n e was com-pleted i n J u l y . Major construction was f i n i s h e d by l a t e October, and the plant was formally commissioned on November 15, 1976."^ F i n i s h i n g work, i n the form of spillway construction, c a r r i e d on 52 into 1977, and t h i s was completed by the end of A p r i l . The f i n a l cost figure for the Snare Forks development, furnished by 53 the Northern Canada Power Commission, i s $27,143,000. 88 8. The Snare Cascades Proposal i ) Licence A p p l i c a t i o n Process The Northern Canada Power Commission f i l e d an a p p l i c a t i o n with the Water Board f o r a lic e n c e for development of the Snare Cascades s i t e on 54 September 26, 1975. The a p p l i c a t i o n was reviewed by the Water Board at i t s meeting i n October, and a public hearing was scheduled for January 14, 1976 (l a t e r rescheduled to January 15) at the Rae-Edzo Community H a l l . The a p p l i c a -t i o n was approved, and a licence issued, e f f e c t i v e October 1, 1976. i i ) Description Most of the nine-metre drop i n the Snare River between the Snare F a l l s plant t a i l r a c e and the Snare Forks forebay occurs within one set of rapids about three kilometres downstream from the Snare F a l l s dam. The Snare Cascades scheme consisted of a r o c k f i l l dam across the r i v e r at t h i s s i t e , with a fo r e -bay elevation of 183 m, a crest elevation of 186 m, and a crest length of 152.5 m. The re s e r v o i r would flood 1100 acres. The design incorporated a 175 m-long intake canal on the south bank of the r i v e r , which would act .as a spillway during times of excess flow. A single short penstock would d i r e c t water to turn two v e r t i c a l fixed-blade hydraulic turbines d i r e c t l y coupled to generators, providing a maximum output 56 of 1.5 megawatts each with a stable flow of 1500 cfs and a head of 9.2 metres. Development of the Snare Cascades s i t e was designed to meet demand le v e l s projected i n the ea r l y 1970's, assuming a continuation of that period's rapid growth. Construction did not proceed immediately a f t e r the issuance of the l i c e n c e , as NCPC planners waited for indi c a t i o n s as to immediate future load growth i n Yellowknife. The postponement of construction of the Mackenzie Valley P i p e l i n e i n the wake of the release of the Berger report, combined with economic recession, resulted i n a marked slowdown i n growth by 1977. It was 89 concluded then that the a d d i t i o n a l output to be generated by Snare Cascades would not be needed i n the immediate future, and that construction should be postponed i n d e f i n i t e l y . The Commission approached the Water Board and asked that the l i c e n c e be put "on hold" (the l i c e n c e s t i p u l a t e d a project completion date of no l a t e r than October 1, 1978) u n t i l such time as the a d d i t i o n a l out-put would be needed."'7 The Board, however, moved to cancel the l i c e n c e rather than extend i t , arguing that i t could not grant NCPC's request without more 58 de t a i l e d information on i t s future plans for the project. 9. Cost Overruns: Origins and Consequences The f i n a l cost of the Snare Forks development, as previously mention-ed, was $27,136,000. This compares with a January 1974 estimate of $14,085,000-for the o r i g i n a l scheme and a November 1974 figure of $13,000,000 for the lower s i t e development. The cost overrun was to have far-reaching consequences for consumer rates, and for the f i n a n c i a l and p o l i t i c a l p o s i t i o n of NCPC. The Commission followed standard accounting procedures through the duration of the project. I t s accounts were reviewed by representatives of the O f f i c e of the Auditor-General of Canada, as s t i p u l a t e d under the NCPC Act, and no i r r e g u l a r i t i e s or deviations from proper procedures were found. By l a t e 1975, however, mounting costs on the Snare Forks project, coinciding with the A i s h i h i k overruns, prompted the M i n i s t e r , Judd Buchanan, to launch an i n v e s t i g a t i o n into NCPC's handling of the project. R.N. Dalby and Associates, consulting engineers, of Edmonton, were retained to prepare a report d e t a i l i n g the reasons behind the excess expenditures and i s s u i n g recom-mendations on the commission's organization and planning procedures. Based l a r g e l y on interviews with NCPC o f f i c i a l s and reviews of Commission documents and reports, the Dalby Report went into much greater d e t a i l concerning A i s h i h i k than Snare Forks. Nonetheless, the report did o f f e r a number of general 90 conclusions and recommendations that were relevant to the Snare Forks case. Dalby concluded that there was no evidence of "gross negligence, 59 wrongdoing, or misconduct" and that a j u d i c i a l inquiry into NCPC's conduct regarding the A i s h i h i k and Snare Forks developments would not be j u s t i f i e d . However, he saw room for upgrading i n the Commission's planning procedures and administrative structure, and included the following among h i s recommendations: We recommend that the Chairman of NCPC give high p r i o r i t y to a review of NCPC organization, and the r e s p o n s i b i l i t y and a c c o u n t a b i l i t y of the company's management team. . . . NCPC's management should review i t s forward planning procedures to ensure i t w i l l have the necessary information to i d e n t i f y the need for new plant additions, the need to arrange financing, and the need to increase rates, etc., w e l l i n advance of the time when a f i n a l d ecision must be made or action must be taken . . . we recommend that NCPC take appropriate action to strengthen communications within the company, with i t s customers, and with governments, and to discuss more openly the company's operations, i t s challenges, and opportunities, with s p e c i a l emphasis on r e p l y i n g to customer concerns and c r i t i c i s m s and to giving the reasons for rate increases.°0 Another recommendation deals s p e c i f i c a l l y with A i s h i h i k , but has some possible relevance to the Snare Forks case. A i s h i h i k saw considerable f r i c t i o n between NCPC and the Water Board, focusing to a considerable extent on the nature and scope of the Board's mandate. In t h i s matter, Dalby came down s o l i d l y on the side of the Commission and against the concept of an a c t i v i s t Water Board, advising that the Minister "take appropriate a c t i o n " to "prevent the i n t r u s i o n of government o f f i c i a l s and agencies into those areas which are 61 the r e s p o n s i b i l i t y of NCPC's management." A somewhat more d e t a i l e d account of the sources of the Snare Forks overruns was contained i n a March, 1976 report prepared by W.F. K e l l y Associates for NCPC e n t i t l e d Consultant's Report on Strutt Lake Investigation of Job History and Cost Overruns, which reviewed contract, material, and equipment costs. The figures pointed to i n f l a t i o n rather than the need to relocate as 91 the primary reason behind the cost increases. Projected costs rose s i g n i f i -cantly i n most job categories. Figures for dam, dyke and spillway construc-t i o n show a decrease from November 1973 estimates, r e f l e c t i n g the much less extensive dyking of the lower s i t e (and the fact that the o r i g i n a l estimate assumed s t r i p p i n g overburden to bedrock; also, t h i s estimate did not include the cost of works already completed, such as dewatering and road construction to date). However, by 1976 some job cost estimates (roads, intake and pen-stocks, and transmission l i n e ) had t r i p l e d over the o r i g i n a l estimates (see Appendix 3). Certain factors present i n the North exacerbated the i n f l a t i o n a r y conditions which characterized the North American economy during the 1974-76 period. Equipment and s k i l l e d manpower were i n short supply, p a r t i a l l y because of the rapid expansion of the Athabasca Tar Sands operations. Higher f u e l p r i c e s were translated into increased transportation costs, and t h i s was e s p e c i a l l y f e l t north of the s i x t i e t h p a r a l l e l , where long distances and small quantities were the norm. In the report, K e l l y c i t e d a construction project i n downtown Vancouver which, within the same period, doubled i n projected cost from $60 m i l l i o n to $120 m i l l i o n , though no outstanding problems were encoun-tered, as an example of the type of s i t u a t i o n f a c i n g the construction industry 62 everywhere at the time. The forwarding of the cost overruns to consumers i n the form of massive rate increases i n l a t e 1975 l e f t NCPC subject to mounting public c r i t i -cism concerning i t s conduct of i t s a f f a i r s . It was, as we have seen, known to NCPC as e a r l y as the beginning of 1973 that system expansion of any kind would incur costs that would have to be passed on to consumers i n the form of sub-s t a n t i a l rate increases. As cost estimates for Snare Forks rose s t e a d i l y through 1975, the Commission, already r e e l i n g from i t s losses on the A i s h i h i k development, found i t s e l f i n a decidedly precarious f i n a n c i a l s i t u a t i o n , with 92 62 a d e f i c i e n c y of $1.2 m i l l i o n i n working c a p i t a l , and i t became apparent that rate increases would have to be even steeper than o r i g i n a l l y thought. The p u b l i c i t y campaign c a l l e d for i n the February 1973 memorandum was never imple-mented. Thus, when NCPC announced i n the autumn of 1975 that i t was applying to the Publ i c U t i l i t i e s Board f o r new rate structures that would see the Yellowknife domestic rate r i s e by 90 per cent, area consumers were caught by surprise. The a p p l i c a t i o n was approved, and the reaction i n many quarters was, predictably, one of outrage. The Cit y of Yellowknife formally p e t i t i o n e d against the increase at the rate hearings, the f i r s t intervention regarding 63 NCPC rates since the inception of the P.U.B. i n 1963. Early i n 1976, the Yellowknife chapter of the Consumers' Association of Canada, i n conjunction with l o c a l labour and small business groups, formed an independent i n v e s t i g a t i v e body known as the Power Steering Committee. The Committee presented a written b r i e f to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on 64 Northern A f f a i r s . The l o c a l chapter of the CAC also lodged a formal com-p l a i n t with the A n t i - I n f l a t i o n Board and widespread pressure was brought to 65 bear on the Minister to p u b l i c l y j u s t i f y the rate increases. As a r e s u l t of these pressures, the Minister asked NCPC to submit a l l i t s proposed rate increases before the A n t i - I n f l a t i o n Board. The AIB ruled that the rate i n -creases were highly i n f l a t i o n a r y , and, while recognizing the Commission's need to be f i n a n c i a l l y s e l f - s u s t a i n i n g , recommended that an a l t e r n a t i v e s o l u t i o n be found. In order to f i n d such a so l u t i o n , the Minist e r appointed a Task Force on E l e c t r i c a l Energy costs i n the North, which released i t s report on November 15, 1976. The Task Force rejected increased subsidies to cushion household consumers against rate increases, arguing that t h i s would only benefit the more af f l u e n t , since low consumption (low income) households were already l a r g e l y covered by the e x i s t i n g 300 kwh cross subsidy, and because rates i n most 93 communities were seen to be comparable to those e x i s t i n g i n other parts of 67 Canada. Instead, i t was recommended that the f e d e r a l government defer loan repayments on the Yukon and Yellowknife systems, allowing NCPC to stagger the projected rate increases over several years. With the loan d e f e r r a l s , i t was estimated that NCPC could s t a b i l i z e i t s f i n a n c i a l s i t u a t i o n with rate increases of ten to eleven per cent annually over the ensuing three to four years, a f t e r 68 a higher i n t i t i a l increase of about 40 per cent. A second, more comprehensive f e d e r a l inquiry, the Task Force on Northern Energy, was i n i t i a t e d i n e a r l y 1977. The Task Force proposed a sub-sidy program to o f f s e t the rate d i s p a r i t i e s e x i s t i n g within the Northwest T e r r i t o r i e s , bringing rates for the f i r s t 700 kwh of power consumed down to the Yellowknife rate, and t h i s was adopted. Moreover, as a r e s u l t of the Task Force proposals, i t was :decided to require NCPC to appear r e g u l a r l y before the Public U t i l i t i e s Board to j u s t i f y proposed rate increases, and to place the Commission under the PUB's j u r i s d i c t i o n i n a l l matters where the NCPC Act was not d i r e c t l y contradicted. At t h i s time, the composition of the Board was changed. Previously, the three members of the Board were T e r r i t o r i a l c i v i l servants; now, they were replaced by independent, non-government members. This was s i g n i f i c a n t , i n that the tendency of the N.W.T. government had been to adopt an u n c r i t i c a l a t t i t u d e toward NCPC, as r e f l e c t e d , f o r example, i n the submissions of i t s representatives on the Water Board. An independent Board 69 could be expected to take a more a c t i v i s t approach. It i s worthwhile to note that intervention by t h i r d p a r t i e s at rate hearings i s s t i l l i n h i b i t e d by the absence of a well-defined mechanism for cost recovery. Section 30 (3) of the P u b l i c U t i l i t i e s Board Ordinance of 1963 gives the PUB the authority to order applicants to reimburse interveners for i n t e r -vention costs. NCPC has refused to recognize t h i s clause, and the Consumers' Association was prevented from preparing a formal intervention at the 1978 rate 94 increase hearings by the Commission's r e f u s a l to pay costs. The PUB, out of f r u s t r a t i o n , attempted to include compensation for intervention costs i n i t s own budget, but t h i s was vetoed by the Executive Committee of the T e r r i t o r i a l - 7 0 government. The shadow cast by Snare Forks on NCPC's Northwest T e r r i t o r i e s and o v e r a l l operations p e r s i s t s to the present. The Commission's f i n a n c i a l s i t u -ation did not show a s i g n i f i c a n t improvement between 1976 and 1979. In 1977, i t was unable to meet repayments due on a loan from the f e d e r a l government. As of March 31, 1979, NCPC had no common equity, and reported a d e f i c i t of $4,512,000 i n the N.W.T. rate zone for the completed f i s c a l y e a r . 7 1 The over-a l l economic slowdown i n the North had considerable bearing on t h i s . NCPC's c a p i t a l expansion plans assumed a continuation of the rapid growth of the 1960's and e a r l y 1970's, but consumption within the Commission's service area a c t u a l l y declined by three per cent i n 1976-77 over the previous f i s c a l year, 72 and i t was faced with maintaining a large amount of excess capacity. The Commission again came under f i r e f o r mismanagement of the Snare Forks project (though the management personnel most responsible f o r the planning arid adminis-t r a t i o n process had since l e f t NCPC). Mayor: F. Henne of Yellowknife put forward a b r i e f at the February 1979 rate hearings, s t a t i n g the City's p o s i t i o n that i t was not f a i r to burden i t s householders with paying f o r past NCPC bungling. He also proposed that the fe d e r a l government take an equity p a r t i c i -pation i n NCPC, as i t had i n several other f i n a n c i a l l y troubled Crown Corpora-73 tions i n the past. Similar concerns were expressed by a representative of the Northwest T e r r i t o r i e s Association of M u n i c i p a l i t i e s . Incompetent handling of Snare Forks, mismanagement of computer i n s t a l l a t i o n s and programming, and over-expansion of c e r t a i n generating f a c i l i t i e s , were singled out. The Association urged that NCPC's debt be converted to equity, and that the 95 74 Commission be s p l i t into two Crown u t i l i t y companies, one f o r each T e r r i t o r y . It i s worthwhile to note that u n t i l March, 1980, Cominco's Con Mine operations and the Giant Yellowknife mine continued to receive subsidized power from NCPC (69.7% of f u l l cost for the former, 61.1% for the l a t t e r ) , the rat i o n a l e being that Cominco contributed to the Snare/Yellowknife system through i t s B l u e f i s h (Prosperous Lake) hydro plant, and that demand generated by both lowered per unit costs and hence rates for other consumers. In i t s a p p l i c a t i o n , NCPC asked that rates be raised to 82.4% of cost, but the PUB ruled that they be increased to 87.5% i n 1979 and 100% i n 1980. 7 5 At t h i s hearing, NCPC applied for a 9.5% domestic rate increase.. This was rejected on the basis of i n s u f f i c i e n t documentation and the Commission was asked to formulate a new rate based on actu a l revenue requirements. The PUB also expressed agreement with the notion put f o r t h by the Cit y of Yellow-k n i f e and the N.W.T. Association of M u n i c i p a l i t i e s that northern consumers should not be burdened with paying for NCPC's past mistakes and oversights: The PUB i s not persuaded that NCPC's e x i s t i n g d e f i c i t should be c o l l e c t e d from t h e i r future customers. The PUB agrees with the general regulatory p r i n c i p l e that past earning d e f i c i e n c i e s should not be borne by future consumers.'6 10. Summary We see during the construction period some more consequences of NCPC's hurried planning and preparation. No test p i t t i n g and s o i l sampling was undertaken along the proposed dyke alignments u n t i l w e l l a f t e r the public hearing, arid only days before the movement of construction equipment onto the s i t e . By the time the geotechnical consultants had completed t h e i r s i t e i n -v e s t i g a t i o n and concluded that the dyke design was unfeasible, construction was already w e l l underway. The mining claim problem was p a r t i a l l y an outcome of crossed signals between NCPC and DIAND. However, the recommendations i n Mr. Olson's memorandum 96 would point to a tacit admission that the pace of NCPC's planning procedures was a factor. It is d i f f i c u l t to pinpoint the exact sources of the cost overruns, since such information (apart from a general breakdown of costs by job) was not included in the NCPC documents examined. According to the consultant's report inf la t ion accounted for the vast bulk of the discrepancy between or ig in-a l estimates and f ina l costs. No permanent works were in the ground when relocation was ordered, and the existing temporary structures were incorporated into the revised scheme. Also, the Auditor-General's Office uncovered no evidence of irregular i t ies or negligence in accounting and cost control. Costs direct ly related to site problems consisted of maintenance of temporary structures, payroll of skeleton staff, and capital carrying charges during the period of delay, plus some additional outlays for basic materials as a result of adverse conditions during the summer of 1974. However, the public was never presented with any hard evidence, in the form of a detailed independent investigation (the Dalby Report was based solely on material supplied by NCPC), as to the actual origins of the cost overruns, and this obviously contributed to the climate of suspicion which prevailed in the aftermath of completion. We also see some evidence of. actors who might have been involved being excluded from the process due to a lack of informational resources. Ten months elapsed between the f i r s t indications of possible s i te problems in May, 1974, and the revelation of the facts to the public in March, 1975. NCPC did not issue public notices of i t s application for a licence amendment unt i l a week after i t s approval by the Minister. Relevant documents and correspon-dence were, in accordance with Water Board practice, available to the public through the Water Use Register, though there is no evidence of any individual 97 coming f o r w a r d d u r i n g t h i s p e r i o d t o r e v i e w t h e R e g i s t e r and draw a t t e n t i o n t o the developments. A second p u b l i c h e a r i n g c o u l d have p r o v i d e d a forum t h r o u g h w h i c h members of the p u b l i c a t l a r g e c o u l d have e x p r e s s e d c o n c e r n s and g a i n e d i n f o r m a t i o n , even i f the outcome c o u l d n o t have been changed a t t h a t p o i n t . A l s o . i n e v i d e n c e , n o t so much i n the Snare F o r k s p r o j e c t i t s e l f as i n the o p e r a t i o n of t h e Snare s y s t e m i n g e n e r a l , was something o f a s p e c i a l r e l a t i o n s h i p between NCPC and i n d u s t r y . The P u b l i c U t i l i t i e s Board was s u f f i c i e n t l y c o n c e r n e d w i t h t h e s p e c i a l t r e a t m e n t a f f o r d e d G i a n t Mines and Cominco r e g a r d i n g r a t e s t h a t i t r e c e n t l y o r d e r e d t h e s e t o be r a i s e d t o f u l l c o s t l e v e l . The r a t e i n c r e a s e s w h i c h o c c u r r e d i n the a f t e r m a t h of the Snare F o r k s p r o j e c t p r o v i d e d a s t i m u l u s t o i n t e r e s t group a c t i v i t y . H o u s e h o l d consumers o r g a n i z e d b e h i n d t h e Consumers' A s s o c i a t i o n o f Canada and began t o a c t i v e l y i n v e s t i g a t e NCPC p r o c e d u r e s and a c t i v i t i e s , and t h e P u b l i c U t i l i t i e s Board began t o o p e r a t e i n a t r u e r sense as an in d e p e n d e n t r e g u l a t o r y body. Lack o f r e s o u r c e s has remained an o b s t a c l e , however, as e v i d e n c e d i n t h e CAC's i n -a b i l i t y t o p r e s e n t a b r i e f a t t h e 1978 r a t e h e a r i n g s , and t h e PUB's i n a b i l i t y t o p r o v i d e s u p p o r t i n t h e m a t t e r . 98 Notes to Chapter Four "SlCPC, "St r u t t Lake", March 29, 1976, p. 41. 2 I b i d . 3 W.F. K e l l y Associates, Consultant's Report on Strutt Lake Job History and  Cost Overruns, March 29, 1976. A George Olson to J.M. Lowe, October 17, 1974, p. 3. ^ I b i d . , pp. 3,4. " i b i d . , p. 1. 7David Gee to J.M. Lowe, Ju l y 26, 1974. George Olson to J.M. Lowe, October 17, 1974, p. 4. g NCPC, Snare Forks Hydro Development, February 13, 1975, p. 5. ^ I b i d . , p. 4. ^ I b i d . , pp. 3,4. ~*" 2Ibid., p. 5. 13 Snare Forks Hydro, p. 2. •*"4Klohn Leonoff International Ltd., Snare Forks Hydro-Electric Development  (Report on Site Investigation), December 11, 1974, pp. 17-20. ^ S n a r e Forks Hydro, p. 3. 16 Report on S i t e Investigation, p. 12. "^Douglas Steen to J. Long, G. Olson and B. C h r i s t i e , September 30, 1974, p. 1. ^ I b i d . , pp. 1,2. "*"^Ibid. , p. 4. 20 NCPC, Snare River Hydro Development Below Snare F a l l s Plant, December 10, 1974, pp. 2,3. 21 Snare Forks Hydro, pp. 4,5. 22 Minutes, N.W.T. Water Board Meeting No. 10, November 5, 1974, pp. 16-17. 23 Z J I b i d . 9 / Snare River Hydro Below Snare F a l l s , December 10, 1974, pp. 8,9. 99 25 J.M. Lowe to A.D. Hunt, December 27, 1974. 26 A.D. Hunt to J.M. Lowe, n.d. 27 Minutes, NWT Water Board Meeting no. 11, February 5, 1975, pp. 13,14. 2 8 I b i d . , p. 14. 2 9 I b i d . , pp. 14, 15. 30 M.J. Morison to J.M. Lowe, February 12, 1974. 31 Telex, Hon. Judd Buchanan to M.J. Morison, February 27, 1975. 32 William Macleod, Water Management i n the Canadian North, Ottawa, Canadian A r c t i c Resources Committee, 1977, p. 26. 33 '"'Consultant..' s Report on Strutt Lake1", p. 5. Ibid . "^Ibid ., p. 6. "^Ibid . , p. 8. 37 Ibid. , p. 9. Ibi d . , pp. 9, 10. Ibid . ^ I b i d . , p. 10. Ibid. ^ 2 I b i d . , p. 12. 4 3NCPC, "Snare Forks Progress Report No. 5, A p r i l , May, June 1975". 44 "Progress Report No. 6, July, August, September 1975 . ^Wayne Cheveldayoff, "Engineering Error Proves Costly i n Far North Dam Project", Toronto Globe and Mail, March 6, 1975. 46T... Ibid. ^7"New Site f o r N.W.T. Power Dam", Edmonton Journal, March 6, 1975. ^8"NCPC Denies Incompetence", News of the North., March 19, 1975. AO "NCPC Acts Out of Character", E d i t o r i a l , News o f : t h e North, March 19, 1975. ^"Consu l t a n t ' s Report on Strutt Lake", p. 12. 100 5 1NCPC 29th Annual Review, 1977, p. 4. 5 2 E l i z a b e t h Kroon to Arthur G. Redshaw, February 9, 1977. 5 3 J . Long to author, May 8, 1980. 54 Douglas Steen to Arthur G. Redhsaw, September 30, 1975. ^^NCPC, Summary Report - Snare Cascades Hydroelectric Development, December 5, 1975. Ibxd. "*7T.V. Mussivand, Assistant General Manager Engineering and Planning Services, NCPC, to Joseph Bergasse, Chairman, N.W.T. Water Board, October 28, 1977. 5 8 M.J. Morison, Acting Chairman N.W.T. Water Board, to Eliza b e t h Kroon, March 30, 1978. 59 R.N. Dalby and Associates, Hydro-Electric Development: A i s h i h i k , Yukon and Strutt Lake, N.W.T., A p r i l 26, 1976, p. 6. D ^ I b i d . , pp. 7,8. 6 1 I b i d . , p. 7. 62 Report of the Task Force on E l e c t r i c a l Energy Costs i n the North, November 15, 1976, p. 10. 63 Consumers' Association of Canada, Yellowknife, History of NCPC Interventions, October 30, 1979. . 64 T,., Ibid. I b i d . 66 Task Force on E l e c t r i c a l Energy, p. 2. o 7 I b i d . , p. 7. Ibid. 69 History of NCPC Interventions, p. 2. 7 ^ I b i d . , pp. 2,3. ^ P u b l i c U t i l i t i e s Board, Northwest T e r r i t o r i e s , Decision 2-79. 7 2NCPC, 29th Annual Review, March 31, 1977, p. 11. 7 3 I b i d . , p. 6. 7 4 I b i d . , pp. 6,7. 7 ~* lb i d . , pp. 5,7. 76 Ibid., pp. 15, 16. 101 CHAPTER FIVE CONCLUSION This chapter consists of a discussion and analysis of the Snare Forks project h i s t o r y i n the context of the theory reviewed i n Chapter One, with p a r t i c u l a r reference to the c r i t e r i a of e f f i c i e n c y and a c c o u n t a b i l i t y . 1. Summary of Problems The problems encountered during and immediately a f t e r the planning and construction of the Snare Forks hydro development may be divided into two categories. The f i r s t consists of oversights i n planning which contributed d i r e c t l y or i n d i r e c t l y to the need to relocate the project and to the cost overruns. The second includes instances where the public was denied access to information and/or resources required to f a c i l i t a t e f u l l p a r t i c i p a t i o n i n the planning and administrative process. Those under the f i r s t category include: 1) NCPC planners f a i l e d to uncover the existence of a mining claim held by Anglo-United Development Corporation within the area designated to be flooded u n t i l a f t e r construction had commenced. The prospect of a protracted l e g a l dispute and/or hefty compensation payments to Anglo-United was a major factor f o r c i n g the Commission to r a d i c a l l y a l t e r the Snare Forks scheme. A breakdown i n communications between NCPC and DIAND, complicated by an u n f a m i l i a r i t y with procedures on the part of the NCPC planners, appear to be p a r t i a l l y responsible, but an i n -tern a l assessment by NCPC suggests that the Commission did not allow i t s e l f s u f f i c i e n t time to thoroughly investigate the matter. 2) NCPC f a i l e d to pinpoint s i t e conditions which rendered the dyke design unworkable u n t i l a f t e r construction began. The pace of the planning and administrative process was a major factor here; the public hearing 102 was held and Water Board approval granted before test p i t t ing and sampling along the proposed dyke alignments was carried out. The Commission also increased risks in the cause of cost savings by rejecting the consulting engineer's or ig inal proposal that the dykes be founded on bedrock, in favour of a less costly but less tried design. The Water Board did not question NCPC on this matter either before or during the public hearing, as the majority of i t s members did not interpret i t s role as including a planning function or assessment of project proposals from the standpoint of technical f e a s i b i l i t y . 3) The load growth forecasts on which the Commission based its decision to proceed with the Snare Forks hydro development were high. As a consequence, the Commission found i t s e l f faced with surplus capacity and stagnating revenues after 1976, further undermining i t s already shaky f inancial position. This problem was rooted in the "boom-bust" nature of the North's resource-based economy; the sudden sharp slow-down in economic growth in Yellowknife (and elsewhere in the Terr i tor ies ) , resulting from nationwide economic recession and the deferment of the Mackenzie pipeline, was d i f f i c u l t to foresee or predict. Problems under the second category, relating to accountability, include: 1) The pace of the planning and administrative process meant that the public was denied the f u l l picture of the technical aspects and environ-mental implications of the project. The matter of permafrost dyking was one example. Also, the public hearing was scheduled before the environmental impact study was completed, and thus Environment Canada, which had expressed a desire to prepare and publicly present as assess-ment of the study, was le f t without sufficient time to do so. The 103 study i t s e l f was c r i t i c i z e d by members of the Board as inadequate i n i t s scope and time frame, as was the walleye spawning study released the following summer. The public was denied information as to developments during construction leading up to an "emergency" amendment that was granted i n secret. The f i r s t i n d i c a t i o n of p o t e n t i a l problems regarding the mining claim appeared i n May of 1974, while the s t r u c t u r a l u n f e a s i b i l i t y of the design became apparent by the f a l l of that year, but no press release was issued u n t i l March of 1975, a f t e r the Water Board and the Minister had approved an amendment to the o r i g i n a l l i c e n c e allowing for r e l o c a -t i o n of the dam and other design changes. Relevant documents and correspondence were a v a i l a b l e for examination through the Water Use Register i n Yellowknife, but apparently no members of the public came forward during t h i s period to examine them. Input at the public hearing was weighted heavily i n favour of business i n t e r e s t s , who,, because of t h e i r dependence on NCPC power for operation and expansion, tended to maintain an u n c r i t i c a l view of NCPC practices and procedures. No groups representing household consumers appeared at the hearing (this i n t e r e s t organized i n the aftermath of the rate increase, but was hampered at times by a lack of f i n a n c i a l resources). An environmentalist pressure group, Ecology North, presented a w e l l -prepared b r i e f , but disappeared from view s h o r t l y afterwards, and thus environmentalists cannot be said to constitute a permanent and established force i n the Northwest T e r r i t o r i e s . Native input was encouraged, but th i s turned out to be l a r g e l y i n the form of anecdotal evidence, against the t e c h n i c a l information commanded by NCPC and industry representatives. A s p e c i a l r e l a t i o n s h i p between NCPC and industry i s also evidenced i n the operation of the Snare system, with 104 p r e f e r e n t i a l rates being extended to the major i n d u s t r i a l consumers u n t i l r e c e n t l y . 4) A climate of suspicion continues to p r e v a i l i n the Yellowknife area towards NCPC. While a v a i l a b l e information indicates that i n f l a t i o n was the p r i n c i p a l source of cost overruns, t h i s i s based on data and assessments supplied by the Commission, and therefore has not been established beyond doubt. Consequently, charges of mismanagement and incompetence continue to be made by l o c a l p ublic o f f i c i a l s and commun-i t y groups. 2) Review of Decision-Making Process: E f f i c i e n c y From the standpoint of e f f i c i e n c y , then, the e s s e n t i a l problem concerns NCPC's choice of the short-term rather than the long-term view. A review of the planning and administrative process leading up to the construction of the Snare Forks development leaves an impression of a hastily-conceived project, designed to meet the short-term needs of the early 1970's economic boom i n the Northwest T e r r i t o r i e s , that was not integrated into any long-term set of objectives. Planning for expansion of the Snare system's hydro capacity began i n 1971, only three years before the system load was projected to exceed then-existing capacity. Expansion of the J a c k f i s h (Yellowknife) d i e s e l plant was necessitated, and even t h i s provided the Commission with a l i m i t e d period within which to work. This was cut shorter by NCPC's decision to opt for a target completion date one year before the deadline dictated by the load forecasts, i n order to save c a p i t a l carrying costs. The Commission then approached the Water Board, emphasizing the rapid growth i n demand on the Snare/Yellowknife system and the need for speedy project approval. Environmental and engineering studies were undertaken, and land use permits and reservations applied f o r , only a f t e r the d e c i s i o n to proceed with the project was made, and construction began before the s i t e i n v e s t i g a t i o n by the geotechnical consultant was completed. The lack 105 of long-term planning, the l i m i t e d time for preparation, and the apparent emphasis on short-term economic e f f i c i e n c y over long-term considerations, compromised (according to some) the q u a l i t y of the environmental assessments and i n h i b i t e d the thorough i n v e s t i g a t i o n of the administration, l e g a l ( i . e . mining claim) and technical ( i . e . permafrost dyking) implications of the development. Had the o r i g i n a l construction schedule presented i n the F e a s i b i l i t y Study been followed, the permafrost and land claim problems' would have been d i s -covered before construction began. The cause of long-term technical e f f i c i e n c y was further undermined by the fa c t that the e x i s t i n g administrative framework provided no mechanism for bringing outside technical expertise into the planning process. The Northwest T e r r i t o r i e s Water Board e x p l i c i t l y declined to assume a planning r o l e , while the community groups which were organized and wished to question NCPC on the develop-ment were l i m i t e d i n t h e i r access to and grasp of (at l e a s t i n the case of the natives) the t e c h n i c a l d e t a i l s of the project. The t e c h n i c a l judgement of NCPC's consultants thus went unchallenged u n t i l the negative outcomes become evident. We are hampered i n our analysis by a lack of complete data. In p a r t i c u l a r , we do not have access to any figures as to the actual extra costs incurred by the r e l o c a t i o n of the power dam, or by factors other than i n f l a t i o n , which NCPC and i t s consultant maintain to be the s i n g l e dominant source of the cost overruns. If we accept the Commission's account, which holds that no permanent works were i n the ground at the time the decision to move the damsite was made, then i t i s u n l i k e l y that following the i n i t i a l recommendations of the consulting engineer would have l e f t NCPC i n a more favourable f i n a n c i a l p o s i t i o n i n the end, e s p e c i a l l y given the considerable extra cost of excavating to bed-rock for the dykes. However, the r i s k s taken i n the scheduling and design of the project could, under d i f f e r e n t circumstances, very conceivably have led to more serious consequences, and thus might be deemed inappropriate f o r a public project. 106 The problem here, though, goes beyond questions concerning the t e c h n i c a l judgement of NCPC management. As we have seen, NCPC, while being charged with supplying power to a number of small, widely-dispersed population centres, and with doing so cheaply and i n a manner as to promote economic growth (a task to which a Crown corporation was seen as being more suited to than a p r i v a t e enterprise u t i l i t y ) , receives no d i r e c t subsidies from the f e d e r a l government. As a r e s u l t , the Commission has found i t s e l f c h r o n i c a l l y undercapitalized, and, under such circumstances, the l e v e l of cost savings yielded through the kind of "short-cuts" engaged i n during the planning of the Snare Forks development may be seen as s i g n i f i c a n t . Another constraint on the Commission's a b i l i t y to plan on a long-term basis i s theuunstable nature of the North's primary resource-based economy. For example, the Commission's f i n a n c i a l p o s i t i o n , already precarious i n the wake of the Snare Forks and A i s h i h i k cost overruns, was further weakened by an unexpectedly sharp economic slowdown a f t e r 1976, which l e f t f t s e r v i c i n g considerable excess capacity i n both the Yukon and the Northwest T e r r i t o r i e s . In t h i s regard, NCPC i s l e f t with l i t t l e choice but to "muddle through", as long-range planning becomes d i f f i c u l t and fraught with r i s k . 3. Review of Decision-Making Process: ; A c c o u n t a b i l i t y Secrecy i s a key word here. The pacing and staging of the development i n h i b i t e d p a r t i c i p a t i o n by members and representatives of the p u b l i c affected, 107 and obscured information which could have provided a stimulus to discussion and involvement. For example, the l i c e n c i n g hearing took place le s s than a month a f t e r the completion of the environmental impact and engineering studies. M o b i l i z a t i o n of public opinion within an environment such as that of the North-west T e r r i t o r i e s i s a slow process, p a r t i a l l y because of the need to f i n d i n d i v i d u a l s who are t e c h n i c a l l y q u a l i f i e d to render assessments. Also, the scheduling of the hearing prevented the public from getting a f u l l perspective on the technical d e t a i l s of the project; the hearing took place before the s i t e i n v e s t i g a t i o n was completed, and an independent environmental impact assessment by Environment Canada could not be presented because of time c o n s t r a i n t s . Probably the most obvious example of secrecy i n decision-making con-cerned the l i c e n c e amendment. The public was e f f e c t i v e l y denied information about developments leading to r e l o c a t i o n of the dam u n t i l a f t e r the necessary l i c e n c e amendment had been approved by the Water Board and the M i n i s t e r . Macleod i s very c r i t i c a l of the Water Board's conduct of the matter: There was no emergency here that required the omission of a hearing. Delays i n start-up would have been c o s t l y , but i f notice had been given at the time when the problems became apparent i n the f a l l of 1974, a public hearing on the facts of the s i t u a t i o n could have been held. If the Snare Forks amendment i s to serve as a precedent, p r a c t i c a l l y any amend-ment of a l i c e n c e could pass without the holding of a p u b l i c hearing. The public's r i g h t to i t s say on such changes may often create what are c a l l e d "delays" by northern developers. However, i t has to be recognized that the public r i g h t to a ' hearing i s a normal part of the development process. Schedul-ing of development which does not take account of time for public discussion should not be countenanced.1 The Water Board's desire to spare the public the costs of further delays may be understandable, but the secrecy within which the Board and NCPC dealt with the matter i s le s s so. Ce r t a i n l y , i f both were convinced that an emergency amendment to the l i c e n c e was i n the public i n t e r e s t , then nothing would have been l o s t i n r e q u i r i n g the Commission to publish an a p p l i c a t i o n notice as soon as i t approached the Board i n November, 1974 and was t o l d that 108 i t s proposed changes required an amendment. Public reaction could at le a s t have enabled the Board to gauge whether d e l e t i o n of the public hearing was indeed appropriate or j u s t i f i e d . A public hearing i n i t s e l f could not, at that stage, have a l t e r e d the outcome, though t h i s f a c t does not negate the public's demo-c r a t i c r i g h t to know. That the public was denied knowledge of such a major development i n the decision-making process u n t i l a f t e r the fac t i s demonstrative of serious weakness i n the e x i s t i n g i n s t i t u t i o n a l design. Another factor i n h i b i t i n g p a r t i c i p a t i n g through den i a l of information was the absence of mechanisms f o r independent assessment, or to put t e c h n i c a l and planning issues before the public to stimulate discussion. The only relevant t e chnical information at the public's disposal was that furnished by NCPC consultants. In keeping with established p r a c t i c e , the Water Board did not a c t i v e l y question NCPC on the technical aspects of the proposal. According to Macleod: As the hearings take place early i n the l i c e n c i n g process the Water Boards do not expect that the applicant should be able to answer a l l questions of d e t a i l that the Board i s aware cannot be answered by the applicant. In the NWT the Board maintains i t s ' n e u t r a l i t y ' by not asking questions that may reveal the f a u l t s with the a p p l i c a t i o n . In the view of the Water Board, t h i s questioning can best be done l a t e r with the applicant behind closed doors. The r e s u l t i s that ' n e u t r a l i t y ' i s i n no way achieved. By maintaining public s i l e n c e on the f a u l t s of development proposals, the Boards favour the applicants.2 Also at issue i s the representativeness of public inputs into the decision-making process. The majority of the outside groups presenting b r i e f s at the l i c e n c i n g hearing were business i n t e r e s t s . Native input was encouraged, both by the Water Board and NCPC, but i t came about i n the form of anecdotal evidence against the technical information commanded by the applicant and a l l i e d actors. No group representing household consumers of NCPC power appeared at the hearing. The public hearing mechanism provided f o r i n the Northern Inland Waters 109 Act appears to r e f l e c t c l a s s i c a l p l u r a l i s t assumptions as to group behaviour, i . e . that, given a channel f o r input, d i f f e r i n g i n t e r e s t s i n the community would spontaneously mobilize whenever perceived gains from such a course of action exceeded perceived losses. Such reasoning does not take into account impediments to organization among broad i n t e r e s t s (such as the consumers), and the advantages enjoyed by small groups with a strong commonality of i n t e r e s t s (such as business a s s o c i a t i o n s ) . This imbalance could be expected to be par-t i c u l a r l y pronounced i n the North, where the technical expertise and p o l i t i c a l leadership which could mobilize " i n c l u s i v e " i n t e r e s t s i s la c k i n g . At the time of the hearing, l i t t l e incentive was present f o r the consumer i n t e r e s t to become acti v e , p a r t i c u l a r l y i n l i g h t of the task faced i n organizing so diverse a group. (One item of information that might have stimulated involvement was the f a c t that NCPC knew as ea r l y as a year before the hearing, that hydro expansion, regardless of the outcome of the project, would have to be paid for through su b s t a n t i a l rate increases; t h i s f a c t was not p u b l i c i z e d by NCPC — contrary to recommendations of i t s planning s t a f f — and, of course, did not come out at the public hearing, since the Water Board declined to discuss economic or plann-ing matters.) The incentive f i n a l l y materialized a f t e r the f a c t , i n the form of massive proposed rate increases.' In th i s respect, the consumer i n t e r e s t i n Yellowknife represents a c l a s s i c example of Olson's economic theory of groups. The j u r i s d i c t i o n a l d i v i s i o n of power i s an important issue i n our case study as w e l l , because the decision-makers d i r e c t l y involved were a l l responsible to the federal l e v e l of government. The economic and s o c i a l func-tions performed by p r o v i n c i a l governments i n southern Canada are l a r g e l y c a r r i e d out i n the T e r r i t o r i e s within the Department of Indian A f f a i r s and Northern Development, and both NCPC and the Water Board are ultim a t e l y responsible to the Minister. The Northern Inland Waters Act provides f o r t e r r i t o r i a l represen-t a t i o n on the Water Board, but t h i s representation i s determined by DIAND through 110 the t e r r i t o r i a l Commissioner. The t e r r i t o r i a l representatives at the time of the development were c i v i l servants, though the basis of representation has since been broadened to include representatives of the p u b l i c at large. Con-sequently, the i n s t i t u t i o n s involved lacked a l o c a l basis of legitimacy, and t h i s could be expected to breed mistrust among the residents of the T e r r i t o r i e s , as materialized i n the aftermath of the Snare Forks cost overruns and sub-sequent rate increases. Economic development and resource management i n the North are issues of n a t i o n a l importance, which a f f e c t the future development of the country as a whole, and hence there i s a strong case for a s u b s t a n t i a l c e n t r a l government r o l e i n the management of northern a f f a i r s , i ncluding h y d r o e l e c t r i c development. However, the resident population of the North, which i s most affected on a day-to-day basis by the decisions of the f e d e r a l government's northern planners must also, according to generally accepted l i b e r a l democratic and f e d e r a l i s t p r i n c i p l e s (unless one adheres to a r i g i d c e n t r a l i s t view) be said to have a legitimate i n t e r e s t i n northern p o l i c y . E x i s t i n g i n s t i t u t i o n a l arrangements overlook the l a t t e r need. I d e a l l y , a framework for water resource management and h y d r o e l e c t r i c power development north of the s i x t i e t h p a r a l l e l should seek to r e c o n c i l e the l o c a l and the n a t i o n a l i n t e r e s t through some form of shared j u r i s d i c t i o n (we draw here on p l u r a l i s t theory, p a r t i c u l a r l y on Olson's " P r i n c i p l e of F i s c a l Equivalence" and Ostrom's model). Despite the existence of i n s t i t u t i o n a l mechanisms designed to promote community p a r t i c i p a t i o n i n water resource planning i n the North, t h i s p a r t i c i p a -t i o n i n the Snare Forks case was l i m i t e d to a r e l a t i v e l y narrow spectrum of affected i n t e r e s t s , while s i g n i f i c a n t events and questions remained hidden from public view and decision-makers were allowed to avoid r e s p o n s i b i l i t y . Pluralism f a i l e d because e x i s t i n g structures f a i l e d to take into account a lack of what 3 Olson termed " s e l e c t i v e i n c e n t i v e s " among the population a f f e c t e d . I l l Enhancement of p l u r a l i s t structures, such as d i r e c t governmental support of intervenors, might have enabled those groups that were organized (the natives and Ecology North at the Water Board hearing, and the consumers at the P.U.B. hearings) to compete on a more equal basis within the process, but would have done nothing to mobilize the most important affected i n t e r e s t , that of the household consumers, during the planning stages. On t h i s b a s i s , i t might be argued that a l t e r n a t i v e structures, based on majoritarian models of democratic a c c o u n t a b i l i t y , might have proved more e f f e c t i v e i n preventing decision-making secrecy. I t i s d i f f i c u l t , however, to imagine fe d e r a l Parliament concerning i t s e l f i n a major way with the d e t a i l s of 1' . r a r e l a t i v e l y small-scale project such as the Snare Forks hydro plant. At issue here i s not only the capacity of l e g i s l a t o r s i n Ottawa to process information r e l a t e d to l o c a l concerns, but also the p o l i t i c a l dividends to be reaped |from d e t a i l e d a t t e n t i o n to northern problems; the Yukon and the Northwest T e r r i t o r i e s account for only three seats i n the House of Commons. T e r r i t o r i a l government o f f i c i a l s , on the hand, scarcely displayed any i n c l i n a t i o n at the time t O j r a i s e substantive questions about the merits of the proposal, i f t h e i r intervention before t h e i r Water Board representative i s any i n d i c a t i o n (see Chapter Four, Section 5). C e n t r a l i z a t i o n of c o n t r o l over NCPC within the bureaucratic • i hierarchy could not have been expected to a l t e r the course of events, given the observed intimacy between senior DIAND o f f i c i a l s and industry representatives, as w e l l as the p r e d i s p o s i t i o n among those senior o f f i c i a l s towards l i m i t i n g regulatory powers (see Chapter Two). Thus, both the majoritarian and p l u r a l i s t models break down when applied to the Snare Forks case. Neither can, i n i t s e l f , f u l l y address the fundamental problem posed by a low l e v e l of p o l i t i c a l o r g a n i z a t i o n among the small and widely scattered population i n the Northwest T e r r i t o r i e s . i i '• Given the f a c t that the d i s s a t i s f a c t i o n expressed i n the aftermath of 112 the project focused on the p r a c t i c a l matters of cost overruns, rate increases, and suspected mismanagement, rather than, environmental impact, native r i g h t s , or other s o c i a l , moral, or " s p e c i a l i n t e r e s t " concerns, questions might.arise as to the relevance of the issue of ac c o u n t a b i l i t y i n th i s case. Our concern i s based on the premise that democratic p a r t i c i p a t i o n c a r r i e s an i n t r i n s i c value, that i n a l i b e r a l democratic s o c i a l order, the r i g h t to know and the ri g h t to a f a i r hearing transcend the extent to which they might influence outcomes in.a p r a c t i c a l or normative sense. The suppression of information concerning the- l i c e n c e amendment, the sudden announcement of rate increase, as we l l as the " f o r e i g n " nature of the i n s t i t u t i o n s involved (giving r i s e to a general notion that northern residents have been burdened with paying f o r the incompetence of remote fed e r a l government bureaucrats) contributed to a prevalent sense jof a l i e n a t i o n among the Yellowknife area population. Such widespread f e e l i n g s of mistrust towards governing and administrative i n s t i t u t i o n s , even on a l o c a l i z e d s cale, can conceivably lead to imbalances and d i s t o r t i o n s i n the p o l i t i c a l system which can se r i o u s l y undermine pr threaten the e f f e c t i v e operation of democratic i n s t i t u t i o n s : Thus, impediments to ac c o u n t a b i l i t y within the Snare Forks decision-making process should be seen as c o n s t i t u t i n g as much a part of the problem as the i n f l a t e d construction costs and consumer rate increases. In conclusion, we may see the fundamental problem i n the Snare Forks case as l y i n g i n a lack of resources among both core and perip h e r a l actors. In the former case, i t encouraged a piecemeal planning process which f a i l e d to adequately take i n t o account a l l p o s s i b i l i t i e s ; i n the latter,, i t prevented representatives of the community from playing the kind of f u l l role; in; the decision-making process that i s considered healthy i n a l i b e r a l dempcratic society. D i f f e r e n t procedures could, to some extent, have attenuated the)pro-blems which mat e r i a l i z e d , but we are unable to o f f e r any i n s t i t u t i o n a l pre-113 s c r i p t i o n which could have completely overcome the fundamental problem and induced a l l actors to function more e f f e c t i v e l y within the process. 114 NOTES TO CHAPTER FIVE William Macleod, Water Management i n the Canadian North, Ottawa, Canadian A r c t i c Resources Committee, 1977, pp. 23-24. 2 • I b i d . , p. 26. 3 Mancur Olson, The Logic of C o l l e c t i v e Action, Cambridge, Mass., Harvard Un i v e r s i t y Press, 1971, p. 167. 4 Macleod, o p . c i t . , p. 105. 115 Bibliography Alexander, C.S. L e t t e r to E.W. Burridge. August 6, 1974. Bentley, Arthur F., The Process of Government, Evanston, 111., P r i n c i p i n Press, 1949. Black, Edwin. Divided L o y a l t i e s . Montreal, McGill-Queen's U n i v e r s i t y Press, 1975. Braybrooke, David, and Lindblom, Charles E. 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APPENDIX A LOCATION MAPS R e p r i n t e d by P e r m i s s i o n , NCPC 120 • 6 I G S P R U C E L A K E D I S T R I C T OF M A C K E N Z I E S I T E M A R I A N L A K E ' s - S N A R E R I V E R , T E L L C W K N I F E y f ffc 5REAX S L A V E L A K E ~"\ ,f H A T R I V E R vr. / B . C . ( if ALBERTA L A K E ATHABASKA SASK. Ui 1 5/ P E A C E R I V E R NORTHERN CANADA POWER COMMISSION V/. F. K E L L Y A S S O C I A T E S C C H S 11 L T r H Q E N G I N E E R S i - — O EDMOKTON SUBJECT SITE LOCATION PLAN APPROVED JJL 1" •> 63 MILES D A T E JAN. 4 , 1974 S A W I N G 121 B I G S P R U C E L A K E EXISTING POWERHOUSE & DAM -R U S S E L L L A K E PROPOSED WINTER ACCESS EXISTING WINTER ROAD ROAD FROM MACKENZIE HIGHWAY' NORTHERN CANADA POWER COMMISSION V/. F. K E L L Y A S S O C I A T E S C O N S U L T I N G E N G I N E E R S 1 : 5 00 ,0 0 0 LOCATION PLAN APFRCVED /'J r* Al 1 : 500,000 ; A T E JAN. 4 , 1 974 C S i W I N S APPENDIX B SCHEMATIC DRAWINGS-ALTERNATIVE PROPOSALS R e p r i n t e d by P e r m i s s i o n , NCPC 123 S>TgUTT LAkiE P g w £ S D A W - R p v S e M O U ^ S L A V i P U T 124 Y/.U =?2 2 125 126 127 APPENDIX C SCHEMATIC DRAWINGS-SNARE FORKS PROPOSAL , R e p r i n t e d by P e r m i s s i o n , NCPC 128 129 NORTHERN CANADA POWER COMMISSION Y^.F. K E L L Y A S S O C I A T E S C O N S U L T I N G E N G I N E E R S S U B J E C T p po J E C T LAYOUT 1" = 100' A P P R O V E D 1 " = 1 CO* D A T E J A N . 4. 1974 D R A W I N G 130 1 NORTHERN CANADA POWER COMMISSION S U B J E C T TYPICAL TAILRACE SECTION W.F. K E L L Y A S S O C I A T E S C O N S U L T I N G ENGINEERS A P P R O V E D fa' D A T E JAN. 4 , 19 74 S C A L E „ , 1" = 20* D R A W I N G g I 131 4 0 ' NORTHERN CANADA POWER COMMISSION W. F.'•KELLY A S S O C I A T E S CONSULT ING ENGINEERS S U B J E C T POWERHOUSE PLAN A P P R O V E D //J'^/JC S C A L E V16" = i'-o» D A T E JAN. 4 , 1974 D R A W I N G 6 132 3: T E L . 5 4 8 ' <£ S C R O L L * , i. E L . 5 2 0 * > / » • NORTHERN CANADA POWER COMMISSION W . F . K E L L Y A S S O C I A T E S C O N S U L T I N G E N G I N E E R S S U B J E C T POWERHOUSE ELEVATION A P P R O V E D S C A L E D A T E JAN. 4 , 1974 D R A W I N G 133 NORTHERN CANADA POWER COMMISSION 134 NORTHERN CANADA POWER COMMISSION S U B J E C T INTAKE ELEVATION W.F. K L L L Y A S S O C I A T E S CONSULT ING E N G I N E E R S A P P R O V E D (/Jy-/L-. D A T E JAN. 4 ,1974 S C A L E „ . 1" = 10' D R A W I N G g I T S -OVERFLOW S E C T I O N T A I L R A C E C H A N N E L «^  E L E V A T I O N C O L L E C T O R C H A N N E L B R I D G E R E T A I N I N G W A L L PLAN H.W.L. 605* SECTION N O R T H E R N C A N A D A POWER C O M M I S S I O N S U B J E C T SPILLWAY DETAILS W.F. K E L L Y A S S O C I A T E S C O K S U L T 1 N G E N G I N E E R S A P P R O V E D D A T E JAN. 4 . 1974 S C A L E D R A W I N G ^ Q 

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