I would like to begin this Mount Polley mine breach update by recognizing the contributions of all the ministries involved, the local health authority and regional district as well as each of the constituents impacted by the mine breach.
This incident has impacted our families, homes, lifestyle as well as our surrounding environment. I thank each of you for your understanding and patience during this difficult time.
This week, Minister of Environment Mary Polak, Cariboo-Chilcotin MLA Donna Barnett and myself presented the Mount Polley Mitigation and Remediation Plan to the residents of Likely and Williams Lake.
This two-phase remediation plan sets a clear path towards the recovery process with the focus on human health and environmental safety through the winter and spring, to June 2015.
The Mount Polley Mining Corporation has already initiated many components of phase one, towards achieving three key outcomes, which will ensure: No further unauthorized discharges into Hazeltine Creek; stabilizing the impact zone to mitigate seasonal events; and, the continued monitoring of water quality in Quesnel Lake with the installation of monitoring buoy’s that can operate throughout winter.
A letter has been sent to the company, outlining what actions have been completed to our satisfaction, and what actions still need to be taken over the short-term. This approach will ensure our community has an appropriate strategy to ensure stability for the environment during the spring freshet and ensure cleanup efforts remain on track with long-term monitoring, work plans and mitigation measures to address potential long-term impacts to fish, wildlife and vegetation.
Phase two of the long-term plan covers the timeframe from July 2015 to August 2016 and focuses on remediating the impacts of the breach. The company is also expected to finalize and implement a long-term monitoring plan as part of Phase Two.
The Progress Report can be found on the Ministry of Environment’s website at: http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/eemp/incidents/2014/mount-polley.htm.
Coralee Oakes is the MLA for Cariboo North and is the Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development.