Minister of Environment Mary Polak (right) shares information about meeting in Likely during an open house hosted by the chamber at the Tourism Discovery Centre Friday.

Minister of Environment Mary Polak (right) shares information about meeting in Likely during an open house hosted by the chamber at the Tourism Discovery Centre Friday.

Likely residents sound off to environment minister

Information about the Mount Polley Mine tailings breach is coming in dribs and drabs, residents told B.C.’s Minister of Environment.

Information about the Mount Polley Mine tailings breach is coming in dribs and drabs, residents told B.C.’s Minister of Environment Mary Polak when she met with them in Likely last Friday.

“People want answers and they want to move on with their lives,” Polak told people at the Tourism Discovery Centre during a chamber-hosted event Friday evening. “They want to know the whys and wheres and how did this happen. We will not know until the investigations are complete.”

Local resident Wendy Tuerlings said the community is divided.

“Some are working, some are on the cleanup, but most of us are on our own,” Tuerlings said. “We would like everyone to know we are struggling out there and everything is not OK.”

Echoing Polak Tuerlings said the community isn’t getting answers and the company isn’t having meetings with them like they have asked for.

“They’ve only gone down a metre in Polley Lake and that’s seven centimetres a day. If we get rain Polley Lake is going to go up again,” she said.

Imperial Metals has submitted plans that are presently being reviewed by the government and expected to be finalized in the next few weeks.

The plan will have two phases.

The first phase will take the cleanup to June 2015 while the second phase will be for the very long term.

“That second phase will have to be adaptive,” Polack added. “This is unchartered territory.”

Ministry staff also heard that communication and information needs to be improved.

There are links on the ministry’s website to data from First Nations, UNBC and Mount Polley tests, Polack said, however, noted not everyone uses the Internet so that’s a challenge.

“Some people want the open mic sessions and other people aren’t as comfortable with them because they don’t get their questions answered.”

Polack promised to visit the region from time to time, saying government knows the impacts of the mine breach will be felt for the long haul.

Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development Coralee Oakes and Cariboo-Chilcotin MLA Donna Barnett also toured Likely with Polack and announced $50,000 of funding for the Likely Chamber of Commerce towards help with economic development and longterm plans for the community.

“The impact of the breach is affecting the entire region,” Oakes said.

Barnett said the Cariboo Chilcotin Coast Tourism Association is filming the site as it is now to show how the breach is cleaned up compared to the day of and following the spill.

“We have to get the message out there that everything is OK, people are alive, the water is good, the fish are good throughout the whole region,” Barnett said.

Claudine and Randy Kadonaga purchased the Likely Pub, Hotel and Restaurant last January and said the mine breach has definitely put Likely on the map and she sees that as a positive thing.

Even after the breach a group of 17 motorcyclists from Germany came to the restaurant en route to Barkerville.

“They don’t have gravel roads in Germany and they were thrilled about travelling our roads,” she said.

And in 2016, the Unlikely Paddlefest wants to go really big with its 25th anniversary celebration.

“I’m hoping to get funding to put in a second washroom by then,” she smiled.


Just Posted

Fraser Health registered nurse Kai Kayibadi draws a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine into a syringe at a walk-up vaccination clinic at Bear Creek Park, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, May 17, 2021. To reduce long lines and wait times the first 1,000 Surrey residents to arrive at the neighbourhood clinic on both Monday and Tuesday will receive wristbands and a same-day appointment. The effort is in addition to the provincial vaccination plan which is now open for bookings to anyone who is 18 years and older. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
69 new cases of COVID-19 reported in Interior Health

The province, in total, recorded 411 new cases showing a downtrend of new infections

Bella Coola Valley. (Scott Carrier photo)
Nuxalk Nation closes recreation, sports fisheries at Bella Coola due to COVID-19 concerns

Nobody is supposed to be travelling, said marine use manager Peter Siwallace

Michelle Jacobs receives her first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at the Coast Capri Hotel on April 28, 2021. The pop-up clinic was hosted by the First Nations Health Authority. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
126 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health over the weekend

There are 22 individuals hospitalized due to the virus, and 13 in intensive care

A Cariboo Regional District director and School District 27 trustee, Angie Delainey is also a fourth generation business owner in downtown Williams Lake. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Angie Delainey appointed Cariboo Regional District representative on regional board

Delainey and Steve Forseth represent the CRD at the North Central Local Government Association

A prowling coyote proved no match for a stray black cat who chased it out of a Port Moody parking lot Friday, May 14. (Twitter/Screen grab)
VIDEO: Little but fierce: Cat spotted chasing off coyote by Port Moody police

The black cat is seen jumping out from under a parked car and running the wild animal out of a vacant lot

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A forest of dance-protesters outside the BC Legislature on April 11. These participants were doing the Dance for the Ancient Forest in support of the Fairy Creek blockade and against old-growth logging. (Zoë Ducklow/News Staff)
Arrests begin at Fairy Creek blockade on Vancouver Island

Five protesters arrested as RCMP begin to enforce injunction

A thunderstorm pictured in Fraser Valley in 2021. (Black Press Media/Jaimie Grafstrom)
Wildfire concerns sparked after 320+ lightning strikes blasted B.C. yesterday

Approximately one-quarter of the province is currently listed as being at moderate risk of fire

A restaurant server on White Rock’s Marine Drive serves customers on a roadside patio. Indoor dining and recreational travel bans have been in effect since late March in B.C. (Peace Arch News)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate falls to 411 cases Tuesday

360 people in hospital, up slightly, two more deaths

The Banff National Park entrance is shown in Banff, Alta., Tuesday, March 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Minister asks Canadians to camp carefully in national parks as season starts

Kitchen shelters in Banff National Park closed, trails on Vancouver Island will only be one-way

Names of those aboard the ship are seen at Komagata Maru monument in downtown Vancouver, on Tuesday, May 18, 2021. The City of Vancouver has issued an apology for its racist role in denying entry to 376 passengers aboard a ship that was forced to return to India over a century ago. Mayor Kennedy Stewart says discrimination by the city had “cruel effects” on the Sikhs, Hindus and Muslims aboard the Komagata Maru, which arrived in Burrard Inlet on May 23, 1914. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Vancouver mayor says sorry for city’s role in turning away South Asians in 1914

Kennedy Stewart has declared May 23 as the annual Komagata Maru Day of Remembrance

A crew of WestCoast WILD Adventures employees tackled an onslaught of litter left at the ‘Locks of Love’ fence at Wally Creek on May 2. (Anne-Marie Gosselin photo)
Litter woes consume popular ‘Locks of Love’ fence on B.C.’s Pacific Rim

Popular view spot near Tofino plagued by people hanging masks and other unwanted garbage

Vincent Doumeizel, senior advisor at the United Nations Global Compact on Oceans, as well as director for the Food Programme for the Lloyd’s Register Foundation, pulls up some sugar kelp seaweed off the French coast in April 2020. He was the keynote speaker during the opening ceremony of the inaugural Seaweed Days Festival. (Vincent Doumeizel/Submitted)
Let’s hear it for seaweed: slimy, unsexy and the world’s greatest untapped food source

Experts talks emerging industry’s challenges and potential at Sidney inaugural Seawood Days Festival

Most Read