April 29, 2015 - 5:57 PM
KAMLOOPS – Environmental protesters were in Kamloops to speak out against the re-opening of the Mount Polley mine this afternoon.
Protesters stood in front of Health Minister Terry Lake’s North Shore office as part of National Day of Action, which is aimed at putting a stop to the re-opening of the mine that had a major tailings pond failure last summer.
Even though Lake was in Victoria organizers thought his office was a good place for people to gather.
“Both governments are responsible, the federal government and the provincial government for lack of oversight,” protestor Bill Hadgkiss says.
As he understands it, the failure of the Mount Polley mine was the failure to build a wider dam for tailings. The pond eventually overflowed and spilled into nearby lakes.
The goal of this protest, according to organizer Celia Nord, is to lobby the government to not re-open the mine. Nord and her fellow demonstrators handed out letter templates she hoped residents would use to voice their disapproval.
“Up until May 2 (the provincial government will) take public comments and the more individual letters the better,” Nord says, noting petitions don’t always work as well as letter writing campaigns.
Nord says even if the mine opened at a reduced capacity, conservation services, in conjunction with the RCMP, are still not finished with their investigation. She worries of the environmental implications, in particular the impact on the wild salmon.
One protestor, who would only identify herself as a Secwepemc mother, is also concerned about the environmental cost.
“It’s about water. We grow in water in our mother’s bellies," she says, adding if we don’t protect the land and the environment there won’t be anything left for future generations. “I’m here for my children.”
Earlier today the Ministry of Environment offices were shut down after someone painted 'shut down Imperial Metals' in large letters and in several places on the building. While there is no known connection to the rally at Lake's office the message was much the same as rallies and protests taking place across the province and country.
(DANA REYNOLDS /InfoTel Multimedia)
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015