Tofino activist joins Mount Polley legal fight

“These groups will be standing with us when the time comes.”

A Tofino local marched into William’s Lake’s provincial courthouse alongside MiningWatch Canada on Oct. 18 to file a private prosecution against the provincial government and Imperial Metals.

Clayoquot Action co-founder Dan Lewis told the Westerly News it was important for him to show his support in-person for MiningWatch’s claim that both the province and the mining company violated the Fisheries Act in regards to the Mount Polley disaster of 2014.

“They’re taking the company Imperial Metals and the province of B.C. to task on this and they’re hoping that they’ll win and that somebody will be found to be criminally responsible for what happened,” Lewis said.

“We’re financially supporting that and I came up here to be here on the ground and physically show support for what they’re doing.”

Operations at the open pit copper and gold Mount Polley mine were halted on Aug. 4, 2014, after a trailing storage facility breach spilled roughly 24 million cubic metres of mine waste and water into nearby Polley Lake, Hazeltine Creek and Quesnel Lake.

The mine reopened on Aug. 5, 2015.

“Nobody has taken responsibility and nobody has been found to be guilty of any breaches of law,” Lewis said. “If you can get away with the largest mining disaster in Canadian history and there are no repercussions whatsoever, either legal or financial, that’s just the wrong message to send to other mining companies and certainly to Imperial Metals.”

He suggested MiningWatch’s legal action is locally significant because Imperial Metals is flirting with potential mine sites in Clayoquot Sound. In 2013, the company received an exploration permit to assess the previously-abandoned Fandora gold mine about 20 kilometres from Tofino. The company’s foray into Fandora was immediately opposed by the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation and Tofino’s municipal council, which expressed frustration over the lack of authority local governments have when it comes to mining permits being approved.

Lewis said MiningWatch is adept at gathering and collaborating with local organizations and Clayoquot Action’s support in William’s Lake could lead to support coming the other way in the future.

“We want to send a message to Imperial Metals that, if they want to come to Clayoquot Sound and open a mine, they’re going to experience opposition,” he said. “These groups will be standing with us when the time comes.”

 

 

Just Posted

Lack of security: why Vancouver Island food production is on the decline

Big Read: agriculture a big, expensive commitment as advocates push to make us more food secure

Earth Day 2018 focuses on ending plastic pollution

“Choose one easily changeable plastic item that you can work to eliminate from your day-to-day life.”

Tofino Shorebird Festival ready for flight

Annual event raises awareness of tiny travellers

Snowbirds fly over Tofino and Ucluelet

“We had front row seats.”

West Coast fishers see empty seas, demand Pacific Salmon Treaty funding

“Right now, if this continues, I think most fishermen will be bankrupt in a couple of years.”

VIDEO: Moose found licking salt off B.C. man’s pickup truck

Tab Baker was in his garage in Prince George when the small moose gave his truck a clean

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

B.C. student makes short-list for autism advocacy award

Brody Butts honoured for his role as a mentor and self-advocate

Austin Powers ‘Mini-Me’, Verne Troyer, dies at 49

Facebook page confirmed his death Saturday afternoon

Alberta man dead after snowmobile collision on B.C. mountain

The incident occurred on Boulder Mountain Friday morning

B.C. parents grieving teen’s overdose death say it started with opioid prescription

Elliot Eurchuk, 16, died at his Oak Bay home Friday, after taking street drugs

16 of 20 fastest improving B.C. schools are public: Fraser Institute

Independent elementary schools remain at top of the chart in think tank’s annual report card

UPDATED: 1 person dead after highway crash in Nanoose Bay

Accident happened just before 4 p.m. near Hillview Road

NAFTA: Talks continue through weekend in scramble to get a deal

Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland called negotiations ‘perpetual’

Most Read