Peace River Hydro Partners Creates $35,000 Scholarship at Northern Lights College

Scholarship created to support women pursuing careers in construction

Fort St John — November 8, 2019Peace River Hydro Partners was at North Peace Secondary on November 7 to announce the creation of a scholarship for female students interested in pursuing a career in construction and trades related fields.  Following an interactive info session with more than forty students, a $35,000 cheque was presented to Northern Lights College.

Click here to view the event.


Peace River Hydro Partners, a joint venture between ACCIONA and Samsung C&T, holds the Main Civil Works Contract on BC Hydro’s Site C Clean Energy Project.  On average in Canada, women account for about 5% of construction workers.  PRHP has double that at 10%.

The announcement came as the next step in PRHP’s Women in Construction inclusion and equality movement. Kicking off at the Spark Leadership Conference this past May, PRHP has been a strong advocate about the importance of engaging women in the construction industry and giving visibility to women in non-conventional roles.  CJDC-TV recently profiled three up and coming women at PRHP: Natasha Smilovic, Dawn Rebelo, and Alison MacMaster. They delivered inspirational speeches, shared their career experiences, and spent quality one-on-one time with the students.


The construction industry is one of the largest employers in Canada, and demand for workers is increasing as a large segment of workers approach retirement. “There are so many women in construction looking to pass down all their knowledge and experience, and willing to mentor newcomers,” said PRHP’s Communications Manager, Jamie Bodnarchuk. “Women make up half of the population, no reason we can’t be 50% of the construction industry,” added Dawn Rebelo.  “I hope that one day we are.  We can’t wait to welcome the next generation.”


Natasha Smilovic credits mentorship as a key factor in her success, citing the importance of having women in the industry. “You need visibility. You cannot be what you cannot see. Being a woman in construction is something to be truly proud of.” Alison MacMaster is a testament to the growth opportunities mentorship can offer, “building the proper relationships has made things easier for me. It’s what made the difference,” she says.

The scholarship will serve as a legacy to help local Peace region students long after the Site C project has been completed. “The challenge with education is that, although it’s very valuable, it’s not always accessible to everyone,” noted Jamie Bodnarchuk. “Students must invest not only their time, but also some money. We realized we can help with that.”

PRHP worked with Northern Lights College to structure the scholarship in such a way it can carry forward in perpetuity.

PRHP Communications Manager, Jamie Bodnarchuk

PRHP Structural Superintendent, Natasha Smilovic


PRHP Haul Truck Trainer, Dawn Rebelo

PRHP Environmental Monitor, Alison MacMaster


PRHP completes concrete placement milestone ahead of schedule

FORT ST JOHN: BC Hydro and Peace River Hydro Partners reached a major milestone on the Site C project with the completion of roller-compacted concrete placements in the upper spillway buttress on October 30, 2019. This achievement occurred seven months ahead of schedule.

In total, crews placed 585,516 cubic metres of roller-compacted concrete this year – roughly 30 per cent more than was placed last year (and 300 per cent more than 2017’s overall volume). To date, more than 1,215,276 million cubic metres of roller-compacted concrete have been placed on the project.

Roller-compacted concrete is a special kind of concrete with unique properties that make it perfect for dam construction. This concrete is created on-site, then transported by trucks and conveyor belts to the buttresses.

Looking south at the spillways buttress (left) and the Site C powerhouse, under construction (right).

Looking south at the spillways buttress (left) and the Site C powerhouse, under construction (right).

The spillways buttress is one of three large concrete buttresses – or foundations – BC Hydro is building to support the Site C powerhouse, spillways and the dam itself. Together, they are a key component of the project’s design, and will ensure dam stability, including in the unlikely event of a major earthquake.

The powerhouse buttress was completed in October 2018, and the dam buttress is scheduled to begin in 2020.

Combined, the buttresses measure approximately 800 metres long and up to 70 metres wide, and are made up of approximately two million cubic metres of roller-compacted concrete. That’s six times the volume of concrete used to build the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world.