Independent inquiry needed

If the stuff in a mine’s tailing pond is benign, why does it have to be contained in secure facilities?

If the stuff in a mine’s tailing pond is benign, why does it have to be contained in secure facilities?

For whatever reason, Mount Polley Mine’s waste containing facility wasn’t secure enough, and now people’s faith in mine safety has been broken along with the breach in the dam.

It’s impossible to predict the environmental consequences of this event. The economic repercussions are being felt already. In the worst case scenario, the mine won’t re-open and the gunk will do grievous damage to the environment.

The best scenario would see the mess cleared up in jig time with little harm done to anything or anyone. (Dream on).  Meantime the blame game is going full blast with fingers pointing in all directions. What went wrong? Was government oversight lacking? Was the mine careless? Did the devil do it?

We are bombarded with conflicting information and expert opinions. Most of us believe whoever is saying what we want to hear, but the expert I know personally and trust is Jack Leggett.

He was the provincial fisheries biologist here for some 30 years. His knowledge of local waterways and the fish in them is first class. I don’t have space to report all his thoughts, but  he  believes an independent public inquiry would “be in order” to establish what went wrong, and prevent anything like it happening again.

He is right. With love and kisses to government and mine investigators, this is no time for an in-house inquiry. We need an independent body with no vested interests to look into the debacle. That’s the only way to regain the public trust.

***

As a Williams Lake taxpayer, I wouldn’t have minded if city council had given Likely area residents free use of the recreation complex showers. And what about help with laundromats?

I realize this isn’t a city responsibility, but whatever happened to the Cariboo’s reputation for neighbours helping neighbours?

Diana French is a freelance columnist for the Tribune. She is a former Tribune editor, retired teacher, historian, and book author.

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