Most of us have experienced, “Whew, that was a close one.”
When I compare the scope of some projects, the current Prosperity mining project is an infinitesimal mole hill compared to a past, 1948 very near miss for the Chilco/Taseko Lakes greater watershed.
With the development of the 1948 Alcan Aluminum Smelter, a series of lakes and rivers including the Ootsa, Tahtsa, Whitesail, Euchu, Tetachuck, Eutsuk, and their connecting river systems were flooded to create the Kenny Dam, where yet today troublesome overflows are fed into the Nechako River.
At the mouth of the Kemano River, the water from these lakes is fed through a 10-mile, mountain tunnel to a power house. The power generated is then fed by massive power lines over the mountains to the smelter located at Kitimat.
More than 9,000 acres of private land, and who knows how many First Nations homes and villages were arbitrarily flooded, including great forests, leaving an unimaginable tangled mess that, to this day, is still not fully cleaned up.
This all in our beloved Tweedsmuir Provincial Park.
A provincial government-offered site to Alcan in 1948 included the Chilco/Taseko Valley Watershed, complete with it’s collection of beautiful rivers and lakes.
Construction would have also included a similar tunnel through the mountains to a Bute Inlet power house location. Keep in mind, in 1948, the Chilco/Taseko watershed was a very attractive location as compared to the Ootsa Lake chain because the Chilco/Taseko watershed was not located in a provincial park. So what saved the Chilco/Taseko Lake Watershed, not environmentalists, not people living there, not grizzly bears, not hysterical voices — thanks Fraser River sockeye salmon? Whew! A very close call indeed!
So when we compare the Prosperity mine project to the Kenny Dam, Alcan project, Prosperity mine is truly only a very infinitesimal mole hill. Realistically and factually, as we see in many parts of the world, far worse things happen naturally than the very environmentally controlled development of a mine.
Enough blather already, let’s get on with it.