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Site C Project Assurance Board

Province takes steps to strengthen independent oversight of Site C project

The B.C. government is taking action to enhance the Site C Project Assurance Board to strengthen its independence and increase its expertise.

The changes follow the recommendations of the independent Site C review completed by Peter Milburn. The independent review included 17 recommendations to improve the management and oversight of the Site C project.

The purpose of the board is to provide independent due diligence and oversight of the Site C Project to ensure it is completed safely within the lowest cost and approved schedule.

The Project Assurance Board is comprised of 10 members. The majority of members are independent external advisors with expertise in capital project construction and management, delivery of major civil projects, commercial negotiations, construction-related claims settlement and other areas. These changes will help bolster the collective skill set of the board and ensure it can provide independent advice to both government and the BC Hydro board of directors.

The 10 members of the new Project Assurance Board are:


Project Assurance Board Biographies

Mitchell Gropper, Independent Chair of Project Assurance Board

Mitchell Gropper has been practising law since being called to the British Columbia Bar in 1966. For the past 23 years, Mr. Gropper has been a partner in the law firm of Farris LLP where his active advisory practice involves complex transactions, Board of Directors, and independent committees as well as corporations and directors. From 2009 to 2013 he was engaged by the City of Vancouver to advise on the completion of the construction and financing of the Olympic Village.

Mr. Gropper has been recognized by Best Lawyers in Canada, Chambers Canada and the Lexpert directories as one of Vancouver’s leading lawyers in energy, finance, mergers & acquisitions, corporate finance, mid-market advisory services, income funds and corporate commercial (one of only three lawyers recognized in three categories).
 

Fred Cummings, Independent External Advisor

Fred Cummings has close to 40 years of experience overseeing the execution of large-scale, multidisciplinary infrastructure projects including Public-Private Partnerships (P3). He has been responsible for the planning, development, implementation and operation of many major transit, highway, and water system projects in British Columbia. He has assisted both private and public sector clients in the planning, design and construction of large-scale capital projects.
 

Joseph Ehasz, Independent External Advisor

Joe Ehasz has more than 50 years of experience in water resources and dams. He has extensive experience in planning, engineering, design, and construction aspects of hydroelectric facilities, reservoirs, dams, levees and water conveyance facilities. His major field of expertise is in geotechnical and heavy civil construction related aspects of water resources; in particular, the design and construction of hydroelectric projects and related embankment dams and reservoirs. He participates on several technical review boards evaluating the engineering and design of reservoirs, embankment dams and spillways, including the Site C Technical Advisory Board.
 

Amanda Farrell, Independent External Advisor

Amanda Farrell is the President and Chief Executive Officer at Transportation Investment Corporation (TI Corp). Ms. Farrell took on this role in December 2018 to lead the management and delivery of major transportation projects, including the new Pattullo Bridge, the Kicking Horse Canyon Project – Phase 4 and the Broadway Subway.

Prior to TI Corp, Ms. Farrell served as the President and CEO of Partnerships BC for five years. Ms. Farrell focused the organization’s culture on client responsiveness and strengthening relationships with current and future clients in the development of major public infrastructure projects from hospitals to courthouses to transit lines. Ms. Farrell also served as Chief Project Officer on the now completed Evergreen SkyTrain Line in Vancouver during that time.

Earlier in her career, Ms. Farrell gained extensive public policy and operational experience in the UK before moving to British Columbia. Ms. Farrell was honoured by her peers as the recipient of the 2018 Women’s Infrastructure Network Outstanding Leader award.

Daryl Fields, BC Hydro Board of Director

Daryl Fields is a current Director of BC Hydro in addition to serving on the Site C Project Assurance Board. Ms. Fields has over 35 years’ experience working in natural resource management, including water allocation, hydropower, transboundary rivers and environmental economics in both national and international contexts. Ms. Fields previously served as a Senior Water Resources Specialist at the World Bank leading projects and technical assistance in water resource management and sustainable hydropower development in Africa, South-East and Central Asia, and India.

She also represented the World Bank in the development of the International Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol. Before joining the World Bank, Ms. Fields worked at BC Hydro, holding numerous management positions, including Operations Planning, Asset Management, Environment (Generation) and Indigenous Affairs and Executive Operations. She was also responsible for BC Hydro’s re-licensing program on both national and international rivers, leading the development of the Water Use Planning process, which is now an internationally recognized approach to water resource management. Ms. Fields holds a bachelor’s degree from University of British Columbia and a master’s degree from the London School of Economics.
 

Doug Foster, Assistant Deputy Minister, Ministry of Finance

Doug Foster has been a member of the public service since 1975 and has held various senior and executive positions with the Ministry of Finance since 1985. Mr. Foster joined the Deputy Minister's Office in 2004, and was appointed Assistant Deputy Minister, Strategic Initiatives in 2012. As ADM, Strategic Initiatives, Mr. Foster responds to major proposals, projects and initiatives with consideration of the economic and fiscal priorities of government.

Mr. Foster is supported by a background that includes a Chartered Professional Accountant/CGA and bachelor's degree in Commerce and Economics from the University of Victoria.
 

Les MacLaren, Assistant Deputy Minister, Ministry of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation

Since 2008, Les MacLaren has served as the Assistant Deputy Minister leading the Electricity and Alternative Energy Division in the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation. He has worked in the BC public service since 1991 supporting (and now responsible for) the development of policies related to electricity and utility regulation which provide a unique perspective to BC Hydro’s Site C Clean Energy Project. He also supports Ministers Responsible for BC Hydro in their governance roles.

Prior to joining the BC public service Mr. MacLaren worked in the oil and gas exploration and development in western Canada and Australia. Mr. MacLaren holds a BSc from Queen’s University and an MBA from the University of British Columbia.
 

Cathy McLay, Independent External Advisor

Cathy McLay is a former Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President of Finance and Corporate Services with TransLink. Previously, Ms. McLay worked in the forest sector in several senior executive roles at Canfor and Howe Sound Pulp and Paper.

Ms. McLay currently serves on the boards of Vancouver Fraser Port Authority, Coast Mountain Bus Company, and GreenPower Motor Company. She has previously served on the boards of Providence Health Care, Transportation Property & Casualty Company Inc., British Columbia Rapid Transit Company Inc., Vancouver Coastal Health and Canfor Asia Corporation.

Ms. McLay is an International Certified Business Coach, a fellow of the Chartered Professional Accountants of British Columbia and a graduate of the Institute of Corporate Directors Education Program.
 

Catherine Roome, BC Hydro Board of Director

Catherine Roome is a current Director of BC Hydro in addition to serving on the Site C Project Assurance Board. Ms. Roome is the President and Lead Executive Officer of Technical Safety BC. Previously, Ms. Roome held positions as Chief Operating Officer, and Vice President of Engineering and Research. Prior to Technical Safety BC, she worked as Director, Business Development, Generation Line of Business, BC Hydro which included Asset Management and the portfolio of potential projects including Site C.

While at BC Hydro she was also General Manager, Thermal Operations and the Project Manager for the Proposal for a Heritage Contract regulatory filing. Ms. Roome holds a Bachelor of Electrical Engineering from the University of Victoria and is a Fellow of Engineers Canada. She has served on various Boards related to her profession as well as finance, science, health, and the performing arts. In 2018 Ms. Roome was named as one of the Top 100 women in Canada recognizing her work as an advocate for diversity in the workplace.
 

Lorne Sivertson, Independent External Advisor

Lorne Sivertson has broad national and international experience in the energy and mining sectors gained from his work in industry, banking, government service and consulting. He established Columbia Power Corporation in 1994 and was its CEO until he retired from that position in 2006 to form his consulting firm. At Columbia Power Lorne Sivertson was responsible for the permitting, financing, development, power sales negotiations and operations of a combined total of 800 megawatts of run-of-river hydroelectric power projects. One of these projects won the International Hydropower Association’s Blue Planet Prize at the United Nations Conference of Parties on Climate Change in Montreal in 2005.

As a consultant in British Columbia, Mr. Sivertson has negotiated long-term power sales agreements, helped firms find project financing, assisted on regulatory and policy matters, advised on project procurement arrangements and on public private partnerships (P3s). His clients include major engineering and construction firms, private power producers, a world-class electromechanical equipment supplier, an industry association, British Columbia Crown Corporations and government agencies. Mr. Sivertson holds B.A. and M.A. degrees in economics.