- Our Town
Opposing sides react to mine decision
The federal government’s rejection of the New Prosperity Mine continues to evoke varying opinions.
Cariboo MLAs are disappointed in the federal government’s rejection of New Prosperity Mine, but said they have faith in the resiliency of people in the region.
“Emotions are high,” Cariboo North MLA Coralee Oakes said. “With the Canfor sawmill closure in Quesnel this month, the annual allowable cut determination looming and the mine’s rejection, the region is facing challenging times.”
Cariboo-Chilcotin MLA Donna Barnett said the region will have to work out what it’s going to do in the future for economic development.
“I’m an environmentalist, but sometimes you have to think about the economy too,” Barnett said.
Applauding the government’s decision, the Fish Lake Alliance said the proposed mine site was not an appropriate location for a major industrial development and other values outweigh the economic consideration a mine in that location would generate.
The Council of Canadians said most Canadians would expect the government to respect the results of the independent review, and honour its constitutional obligations to the people of the Tsilhqo’tin Nation that would be impacted by the project the most.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper even weighed in. Speaking to the Prospectors and Developers Association in Toronto Monday, he said it was clear the project as previously and presently conceived would not address the long-term destruction of the local water system and the government’s experts could see no possible mitigation measures for that.
Cariboo Regional District chair Al Richmond suggested the federal government’s decision means the people who are best able to comment on environmental impacts of tailings ponds can now have a discussion.
“It’s given Taseko something to technically address, as well as the issues raised by the panel,” Richmond said.
“People in the Cariboo-Chilcotin care about the land and I hope people can stick to the technical issues that surround the project.”
At the end of the day, the region is left with uncertainty about the project and communities that are divided, he added.