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.

jcarmichael@westerlynews.ca

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

Just Posted

Extreme waves and king tides expected around Tofino and Ucluelet this weekend

Extreme wave hazard warning at the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve.

Strong winds up to 100 km/h for parts of Vancouver Island

Wind warning in effect for north, east and west Vancouver Island into Saturday morning

Ucluelet says goodbye to town’s only sports bar

“It started off big and we’re on the backside of the mountain now.”

B.C. storm totals $37M in insured damages

The December storm wreaked havoc on B.C.’s south coast

Four Tofino businesses up for Vancouver Island Excellence Awards

Tofino’s business community is shining with four Vancouver Island Business Excellence Awards… Continue reading

VIDEO: U.S. Congress to probe whether Trump told lawyer Cohen to lie

At issue is a BuzzFeed News report that about negotiations over a Moscow real estate project

Rookie Demko backstops Canucks to 4-3 win over Sabres

Young Vancouver goalie makes 36 saves to turn away Buffalo

Charges upgraded against mother of murdered B.C. girl

Kerryann Lewis now faces first- rather than second-degree murder in the death of Aaliyah Rosa.

UPDATE: Injured firefighter in stable condition

Kelowna fire crews responded to a blaze at Pope’sGallery of BC Art & Photography on Friday

Rare ‘super blood wolf moon’ takes to the skies this Sunday

Celestial event happens only three times this century

Arrest made after historic B.C. church hit by arson

The fire at the 150-year-old Murray United Church in Merritt was considered a possible hate crime

B.C. dangerous offender in court for violating no-contact order, sends letter to victim

Wayne Belleville was shocked to see a letter addressed to him from his shooter, Ronald Teneycke

Man blames his loud car radio, sirens for crash with B.C. ambulance

Tribunal rejects bid to recoup ICBC costs after crash deemed 100-per-cent his fault

Ferry from Port Hardy to Bella Coola expected to set sail this summer

Its first in-service route will sail in central coast waters on May 18, 2019.

Most Read