02/22/2016 14:45 EST | Updated 02/22/2017 00:12 EST

BC Hydro seeks court injunction to remove Site C dam protesters

VANCOUVER — BC Hydro says allowing protesters to continue blocking construction of the Site C dam project would cost the utility $8 million.

The energy utility is in British Columbia Supreme Court seeking an injunction to remove First Nations members and Peace Valley landowners from a protest camp near Fort St. John.

A lawyer for BC Hydro says demonstrators are blocking an area where a contractor was to deposit waste rock, and that would require hydro to transport the rock elsewhere, then move it back later at a cost of about $8 million.

Mark Andrews says if the alternative site doesn't work for waste rock, there's a small risk that the protesters will force a year-long delay to the project at a cost of $420 million.

Environmentalist David Suzuki voiced support for the protesters outside court and says the $8.8-billion hydroelectric dam is in conflict with climate change targets agreed to by Canada at the Paris climate conference last year. 

Suzuki says agricultural land in the Peace Valley could be the "breadbasket of the north" and it should not be flooded by the dam project.

The Canadian Press