I read with interest the article 1.5M Sockeye bound for fouled Quesnel Lake published in the Agassiz Harrison Observer on Aug. 7, 2014.
I have been talking with people on the ground of the Fraser River Imperial Mines tailing pond contamination. What I see is that government treating this toxic release with the same the extreme carelessness I have observed for the last 30 years while protecting wild salmon from disease.
The government ignored warnings from an ex-employee of Imperial Mines that there was five times too much water in the tailings pond than intended and the dam was at risk of failure. This means the failure was no accident – it was the result of government negligence. What was the plan to draw down the levels? Was there a plan? Was this the plan?
This attitude from the government is not new. For years, scientists in BC Ministry of Environment, such as Dr. Dave Narver, has warned the federal and provincial governments that diseases from salmon farms were a serious threat to wild salmon. Now the diseases are here and the government is ignoring them.
Unbelievably, the government told the public the water is safe, while scientists report that the samples were taken too far from the impacted areas. I encourage the people of BC to make sure samples of the tailings pond are independently tested. If I had not tested wild salmon for European salmon viruses, we would not know they are here. First Nation leaders, who appear to have a greater sense of responsibility towards human health, have closed the salmon fisheries in the region of the mining spill to protect the health of the people. This is extremely serious, this is a vital food resource and foundation of their culture.
We have to stand together, do the work and bring government back to us. We have to expect government to do much better than this!