After meeting with Likely area tourism operators and business owners on Wednesday, NDP MLA David Eby said he was surprised at the lack of government support people are receiving in response the Aug. 4 Mount Polley Mine tailings breach.
The Vancouver-Point Grey official opposition spokesperson for housing, liquor, gaming and tourism said he pictured a team of scientists, a full cleanup plan, more money for the Quesnel River Research Centre and funding in place to help people get through the crisis.
“It’s remarkable, the lack of provincial government presence,” Eby told the Tribune. “It contradicts the premier’s promise.”
Northern Lights Lodge has operated on Quesnel Lake for three generations, said co-owner Sharon Borkowski, estimating two weeks after the spill the sediment plume showed up in front of the lodge.
“The colour of the water has changed drastically,” she said.
Mount Polley has put in filtration systems for residents who get water from Quesnel Lake, however the Borkowskis are not drinking the water.
“They tell us the levels are safe but not to drink the water if it’s cloudy. It’s cloudy so were not drinking it,” she said.
Borkowski said some tourism operators in the area have invested extra money to market themselves because they are worried about the future.
There’s no way of knowing what will happen five years down the road, she added.
Normally at this time of year, the lodge would have thousands of dollars in deposits for 2015 bookings, but that isn’t happening.
People have approached government about help, but they aren’t getting it, she added.
In a meeting with members of the Cariboo Chilcotin Coast Tourism Association in Williams Lake, Eby heard between the ferry cuts and Mount Polley, people are feeling like they cannot win.
“We will continue to seek new support for recovery efforts and an adequate recovery plan,” CCCTA CEO Amy Thacker said.