Friday, Aug. 4 marked the third anniversary of the Mount Polley mine disaster in the central Cariboo region of B.C. To commemorate the environmental catastrophe, First Nations elder Levi Martin and Tofino’s environmental leaders participated in a water ceremony near Tofino’s first street dock. (Nora O’Malley / Westerly News)

Friday, Aug. 4 marked the third anniversary of the Mount Polley mine disaster in the central Cariboo region of B.C. To commemorate the environmental catastrophe, First Nations elder Levi Martin and Tofino’s environmental leaders participated in a water ceremony near Tofino’s first street dock. (Nora O’Malley / Westerly News)

Mt. Polley mining disaster remembered

“We do not want Imperial Metals in Tla-o-qui-aht territory.”

Tofino’s environmental front-runners participated in a water ceremony on Friday, Aug. 4 to commemorate the third anniversary of the Mount Polley mine disaster.

On August 4, 2014, the Imperial Metals’ mine suffered a dam breach, which flooded nearby lakes and waterways with toxic water and sludge. A local state of emergency was declared for the Cariboo region over drinking water contamination a few days following the spill.

Tla-o-qui-aht First Nations elder Levi Martin led representatives from Clayoquot Action, Friends of Clayoquot Sound, and Surfrider Pacific Rim Foundation in the ceremony.

Participants were asked to stand in a circle and share their thoughts on the importance of water.

“Water is one of the four sacred elements; without good clean healthy water, nothing survives in this world,” said Martin.

“We do not want Imperial Metals in Tla-o-qui-aht territory, because all the land, the water and the resources belong to our children, and great-great-grandchildren.”

Imperial Metals currently holds a mineral exploration permit for Catface Mountain, which is located within Ahousaht Traditional Territory.

Tofino,