BROTHEN: Waiting for facts is hard, but probably best

We demand answers when we see the damage at Mount Polley but inevitably those answers take longer than we like as they test and measure and study.

And while we wait to understand the full scope of the carnage created when the tailings pond at the mine near Likely, B.C. failed, flooding forests and rivers and lakes, people come to their own conclusions based largely on the emotional reaction to the photos and videos. No one can deny there is damage to repair, but with these reactions come harsh armchair conclusions, judgments and a whole lotta hand-wringing – the results of which are based, in part, on the very sparse information available.

It seems most who feel the need to express an opinion have already taken their stand – particularly on the subject of the Ajax mine proposed near the city of Kamloops and its own plan for tailing ponds. Perhaps it’s human nature or part of a deeply rooted inability to say “I don’t know."

Saying it’s too early to tell is the answer from everyone at this point in the investigation – mining companies, environmentalists, government and the media. But there are others who can talk ad-nauseum about something we're all trying to figure out. 

When did “I don’t know” become such a taboo? Picking a side and damning the facts (before we even know what they are) seems more dogmatic than proactive.

While we wait to find out the straight goods on what caused the flood, impacts on drinking water quality, animal habitat conditions and the overall long-term affect on the area, we should remind ourselves to do just that. Wait.

Your argument, whatever it may be, will be much stronger when you can base it on fact.

To contact a reporter for this story, email, or call 250-319-7494. To contact the editor, email or call 250-718-2724.

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