Tofino team checks out Mount Polley dam break aftermath

A West Coast team that travelled to the scene of the Mount Polley mine tailings pond dam break in Northern BC was shaken and disheartened by what they saw there. Clayoquot Action Society executive director Dan Lewis and Bonnie Glambeck travelled the 1,000-plus km trip up to the Mount Polley mine at the end of August and spent four days up there.

“I am still completely shook up by what I saw. The tailings spilled through the dam, spilled into Polley Lake, and then spilled into Hazeltine Creek,” Lewis said.

The creek that now cuts a 50-metre swath through the woods was once just two metres wide, Lewis said.

“It was horrendous.” The team didn’t collect any solids, but did get a bit of the water, Lewis said. The plan is to save the water to offer to an Imperial Metals executive, he said.

“The First Nations in Likely (near the scene of the dam break) have completely been left holding the bag,” Lewis said, adding varying updates on the drinking water in the area have ranged from safe, to not safe, to “don’t drink it if it’s cloudy,” to the lake turning green.

Imperial Metals has the mine on Mount Polley, and also is exploring mining options on Fandora and Catface Mountain in the Clayoquot Sound area.

Lewis said that keeps him up nights.

“I don’t think people are opposed to mining, I’m certainly not opposed to mining, but it has to be done right .. It’s absolutely unacceptable for the government to let this happen, the company to let this happen. They’ve got to clean up the mess and look after

the people that were affected,” he said.

The Mount Polley site isn’t even in the same kind of rainbelt that Clayoquot Sound is in, Lewis said.

As for the earthen dam that failed under heavy rains in the Likely area, Dan Lewis thinks that is a fairly obsolete way to deal with tailings.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if this changes way they deal with tailings,” he said.

Clayoquot Action is planning a slide show and presentation of a film by Nitanis Desjarlais, a Clayoquot Sound filmmaker who also travelled to the site.

In Tofino on Tuesday, October 21, Cree/Nuu chah nulth filmmaker

Nitanis Desjarlais, and Dan Lewis Bonny Glambeck will do a presentation at the Clayoquot Community Theatre.

Submitted photo, above: Dan Lewis at Hazeltine Creek, widened by the earthen dam failure at the Mount Polley mine.

Just Posted

VIDEO: Ucluelet engages at open house

“It’s great to have such a terrific turnout.”

Nanaimo RCMP trying to ID people in photos after camera found smashed

“Our investigators believe the wedding took place in September of 2013 in Ucluelet.”

VIDEO: Tofino gets blunt about marijuana legalization

“It’s great to see people engaged.”

UPDATED: Six-hour power outage coming to Ucluelet today

Alcohol not ruled out as a factor in Thursday morning car crash.

Tofino receives $500,000 for housing project

District hopes to add 50 new housing units.

VIDEO: Tofino gets blunt about marijuana legalization

“It’s great to see people engaged.”

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.

BREAKING: Mother hit in Maple Ridge truck rampage dies

Family confirms mother of four Kelly Sandoval dies almost two months after being hit.

PHOTOS: Students exhibit stunning paper couture dresses

22 paper made gowns will be on display at Vancouver’s Oakridge Centre until March 27

BCHL Today: Prince George avoids elimination with game five win

BCHL Today is a (near) daily look at what’s going on around the league and the junior A world.

Suspect arrested and charged for assault on autistic man

Parmvir Chahil has strong B.C. ties; two others charged with accessory after the fact

Uber self-driving crash video calls safety, rules into question

Experts say footage shows that vehicle’s sensors should have spotted pedestrian, initiated braking

Capital Region gas prices at their highest since 2008

Filling up is cheaper north of the Malahat

UPDATED: MPs Elizabeth May, Kennedy Stewart arrested at B.C. anti-pipeline protest

The demonstration is part of a day of action against the Trans Mountain expansion

Most Read