CRD supports restricted mine restart

The Cariboo Regional District has come out in support of a restricted restart of Mount Polley Mine.

The Cariboo Regional District has come out in support of a restricted restart of Mount Polley Mine.

After city officials declared their support of a re-opening in April, the CRD resisted pressure to do the same, saying it wanted to wait until the public consultation process was complete.

“Now that we’ve had a listen to what people had to say we can endorse a temporary restart, ” CRD chair Al Richmond said Thursday, noting the board had access to more than 8,000 letters submitted by the public that came from all over North America.

Additionally, the board has received constant updates from the ministries of mines and environment.

“At our meeting a week ago both ministries said they had sufficient information from the mine to determine the opening,” Richmond said. “Reopening the mine is a technical issue not a political issue. They have technical people who will make the decision.”

During the June 12 CRD board meeting, directors voted in favour of supporting the temporary restart and sending a letter to the Minister of Energy and Mines Bill Bennett and the Minister of Environment Mary Polak.

The vote was not unanimous, however, directors who were opposed did not ask to have their names recorded, Richmond said.

Richmond did say, however, that certain things are missing from the mine’s restart permit so the CRD has requested the government to include the CRD and the community of Likely in future discussions regarding the mine and its operations.

The board has also asked government to share the Emergency Response Plan with First Nations, the CRD and the community of Likely and to maintain and expand the role of the public liaison committee.

“We also suggested adjustments to the environmental permit under the water management to involve us,” Richmond said. “And we want the liaison committee to meet more often and the membership to be more open to the public.”

The Ministry of Environment will be hosting community meetings to update the public on the next steps for remediation at the breach site and the mine’s pollution abatement order.

The meetings take place in Likely on June 22, Sugar Cane on June 23, Williams Lake on June 24 and Quesnel on June 25.

In Williams Lake the meeting will be held in the Gibraltar Room from 7 to 9 p.m.

A decision on the restricted restart of Mount Polley is expected to be rendered by the Province by mid-July 2015.


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