10/31/2017 14:53 EDT | Updated 10/31/2017 15:40 EDT

B.C. premier says Site C could end up in Supreme Court over Indigenous rights

VICTORIA — Premier John Horgan says British Columbia's $8.8 billion Site C dam project could face lengthy legal battles over Indigenous rights and may eventually end up in the Supreme Court of Canada.

Horgan's comments come hours before the release of a government-ordered independent review on the economic viability of the hydroelectric dam project in northeast B.C.

The premier told reporters at the legislature that he believes Indigenous people will continue to fight Site C in the courts.

He says he's aware that every Indigenous court challenge of Site C so far has ended in defeat or been abandoned, but those issues were fought on environmental grounds, not land, hunting and fishing rights that are enshrined in the Constitution.

The review by the B.C. Utilities Commission that is due out tomorrow will serve as an independent assessment for the project that is already under construction on the Peace River.

Horgan says his cabinet will make a decision by the end of this year on whether to allow the project to carry on, to put it on hold or to stop the construction.