For those of you who don’t know Quesnel Lake, let me acquaint you.
Prior to Monday, before the Mount Polley tailings pond breach, Quesnel Lake and its many rivers and tributaries was an oasis for those looking to get away into a pristine wilderness setting –– myself included.
I personally have been escaping to the area for years and have always been taken by its beauty and abundance.
Whether camping at Quesnel Forks, Cedar Point Park near Likely, any of the many BC Forest Service Sites on the lake, or simply a remote stretch of beach up the North Arm, Quesnel Lake has had much to offer.
Residents and even those just out for a weekend could and would simply carry a cup and drink fresh, clean water right out of the lake as they try to catch a prized, genetically-unique strain of rainbow trout.
But since Monday, in what many are calling the worst mining disaster in B.C. history, it’s been impossible to lose that sick, sinking feeling in my stomach.
At the forefront of concern of course are the residents of Likely and Quesnel Lake and beyond who will be directly unknown impacted by the spill, and the long-term impacts on water quality and the Quesnel Lake fishery including that of the sockeye salmon entering the system.
After days of waiting with little information Likely residents were given some hopeful news from Interior Health yesterday.
Darshan Lindsay, Interior Health communications officer, issued a release yesterday stating preliminary tests by the Ministry of Environment meet drinking water standards, however, more testing needs to be done before the blanket water ban will be removed.
We can all agree, however, that the true impacts of the tailings pond breach won’t be known for months, years and decades.
One can only hope that our government will learn from this disaster and step up its regulation and monitoring of the mining industry.
There is no excuse to explain how things like this could happen in this day and age.
The government needs to get its head out of the sand when it comes to properly regulating industry for the good of everyone involved, including industry itself.
– Angie Mindus