LETTERS: Future of Quesnel Lake murky

The Quesnel Lake decision “based on best science” is a common thread for Premier Christy Clark.


The Quesnel Lake discharge decision that was “based on best science” is a common thread for BC Liberal Premier Christy Clarke and the local Liberal candidates, such as Coralee Oakes and Donna Barnett, a theme that was continued at the recent All Candidates meeting in Likely.

That “science” is in-part bogus, as the Quesnel Lake water quality (WQ) can be 10 to 50 times more pure than the B.C. Water Quality Guidelines. Science, like statistics, can be twisted to a lie to support a pre-determined outcome, which in this case is the Liberal support for Mount Polley Mine’s (MPMC) decision to use the cheapest and most convenient effluent treatment option, rather than develop solutions that truly protect the lake. Even the Reasons for Decision document from the Ministry of Environment’s Independent Decision Maker noted that other options were not thoroughly investigated.

MPMC has, since the dam breach, controlled the posting of data and reports to support their desired pre-determined discharge option. Just look at the changes in reports posted on the Imperial Metals website since last year’s weekly multi-page reports that provided at least some WQ data on the effluent and the Quesnel Lake receiving environment, to this years monthly reports, that are basically a 2 page blank document. And where is the 2016 Annual Environment and Reclamation Report that was supposed to be submitted by March 31, 2017?

The changes in Quesnel Lake as noted by local residences have been ignored or down-played continuously, such as in the latest TetraTech technical memo (April 5, 2017) that tries to discredit the continuing observed turbid waters of Quesnel Lake. How convenient for instance that some Quesnel River data for 2016 was not available for the report. Is this the same Quesnel River where UNBC last year reported turbidity readings up to five times higher than those reported by MPMC? And a lot of dirty water can flow under the bridge when sampling frequency has been reduced to one and 2 month intervals.

The unnatural surges of greenish glacial-like water in the west arm of Quesnel Lake has continued over the winter and into spring, water filters continue to plug up in five days instead of lasting a year or more, cloudy water is observed on the beaches, and beach rocks are coated with slime. Who knows what else is occurring out in Quesnel Lake when the BC Liberal government has not provided an open independent review, and has deliberately limited local and public input such as by shutting down the Environmental Working Group in 2016.

The BC Liberal government of Christy Clarke has proven the lie to the promise to “return it to the real pristine beauty” that Quesnel Lake once was. As such, the future of Quesnel Lake remains murky, something to be remembered when you vote on May 9, 2017.

Doug Watt


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