Canadian Consulting Engineer

Belize dam given nod; AMEC involved

A British High Court has ruled this week that a Canadian company can go ahead and build a controversial dam in Beli...

January 30, 2004   Canadian Consulting Engineer

A British High Court has ruled this week that a Canadian company can go ahead and build a controversial dam in Belize.
The Chalillo dam along the Macal River has been fiercely opposed by environmentalists in Belize and in Canada. They say that the flooding to create the dam’s reservoir threatens rare species of animals and vegetation in the valley. They also dispute the benefits of the power plant to the local people.
Fortis of Newfoundland, who are building the dam, are claiming victory now that the Privy Council of Britain — the final court of appeal for the Commonwealth country — has authorized the project. It has been the subject of a long series of legal disputes.
AMEC Canada based in Mississauga, Ontario, one of Canada’s largest consulting engineering firms, has been embroiled in the controversy because it prepared the environmental assessment report. The Canadian International Development Agency provided funding.
Opponents have been Toronto-based Probe International, renown environmental lawyer Robert F. Kennedy Jr. of the Washington-based Natural Resources Defense Council, and Sharon Matola of the Belize Zoo. The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s “Disclosure” featured the project as “The Dam Canadians” on April l2, 2002.


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