Column: Mount Polley update

Ongoing testing at Quesnel Lake continue to show that water quality continues to meet provincial and federal drinking water guidelines.

Ongoing testing at Quesnel Lake by the Ministry of Environment continue to show that water quality continues to meet provincial and federal drinking water guidelines. Through the co-operation with Interior Health, testing will continue to monitor the impacted area to understand and determine any long-term impacts from the incident.

Government of B.C. information in regards to the Mount Polley Mine Incident can be found through the Ministry of Environment by visiting their website at gov.bc.ca/env. All water quality test results, information bulletins and news releases from the Ministry and incident updates can be found on the site.

Last week, I had the honour of attending a signing ceremony for an agreement with Williams Lake Indian Band and the Soda Creek Indian Band (Xat’sull First Nation) to work in partnership to address all aspects of the tailings breach.

The agreement has five components to be conducted in accordance with First Nations traditions and scientific methods. All partners want to find out exactly what happened and ensure that this never happens again. The partnership is also making remediation efforts, protection and preservation of the area’s pristine environment is protected a top priority.

An independent engineering review was also launched into the breach along with a review of all 2014 Dam Safety Inspections for tailings ponds across the province. The investigation final report will be available by the end of January next year to help determine why the tailings pond failed and collapsed. Recommendations will also be shared with both First Nations and government to be implemented as needed to prevent a similar accident in the future.

The mining industry supports thousands of families across the province, including right here close to home. Our government is continuing to build on B.C.’s world-class standards to help grow this vital job creator in our province.

Coralee Oakes is the MLA for Cariboo North and is the Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development.

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