Aerial photo shows work to contain Mount Polley tailings after dam breach at the mine near Williams Lake Aug. 4.

Opposition demands Mount Polley reports

Environment Minister Mary Polak says inspection results stay under wraps until mine tailings spill investigations are complete

VICTORIA – The B.C. government released its latest water test results from the Mount Polley mine spill area Thursday, but refused a demand by opposition politicians to release inspection reports on the mine and tailings dam that collapsed Aug. 4.

Environment Minister Mary Polak said the water results showed “slightly” elevated levels of aluminum and copper in water samples from Quesnel Lake, but water remains safe to drink in the area affected by the plume of tailings in the lake.

Polak said all information related to health and safety of area residents has been made public, but she is complying with a request from investigators not to release inspection reports until multiple investigations are complete.

Polak released an Oct. 6 letter from B.C. Chief Inspector of Mines Al Hoffman, who is supervising one investigation of the dam failure. Hoffman said mine experts are examining “all documents relating to the history, design, construction, operation and maintenance of the tailings facility” and have interviewed more than 50 people.

“I share the concern with the Ministry of Justice that the public release of information related to the tailings facility at Mount Polley may impact investigations by tainting evidence of persons yet to be interviewed or re-interviewed,” Hoffman wrote.

Imperial Metals issued a statement last week in response to a Vancouver newspaper report that a 2010 inspection report described a crack found in the Mount Polley dam.

The crack was 900 metres away from the area of the August breach, and “was thought to be associated with localized settlement of loosely compacted material along the downstream slope of the embankment,” the company said.

NDP energy and mines critic Norm Macdonald referred to reduced inspections at a coal mine in the Kootenays, and a memo from a ministry official in 2010 warning of the risks of reducing mine inspections.

Energy and Mines Minister Bill Bennett maintains that annual inspections of Mount Polley and other mines with tailings ponds were not reduced, although other inspections were less frequent.

 

Just Posted

A campaign encourages families to put down their phones and talk this Mother’s Day

OpenTable’s #DiningMode gets Okanagan restaurants on board with a no phone policy while dining

Okanagan experience for the Blue Man Group

The world tour of the Blue Man Group came to Penticton this week for two shows.

Olympian Andi Naude retires from freestyle skiing

Penticton native skied in 62 World Cup single and dual moguls events in her career

Syrup commercially produced from Summerland maple trees

Maple Roch produces 50 bottles of syrup after trees in the community were tapped

Activities offered to mark Earth Week in Summerland

Numerous events planned, including the 13th annual Earth Day Celebration on Sunday

VIDEO: Driver in bizarre hit-and-run at B.C. car dealership turns herself in

Police believe alcohol was a factor in incident causing estimated $15,000 in damages

‘B.C. cannot wait for action’: Top doctor urges province to decriminalize illicit drugs

Dr. Bonnie Henry says current approach in ‘war on drugs’ has criminalized and stigmatized drug users

B.C. woman, 76, challenges alcohol-screening laws after failing to give breath sample

Norma McLeod was unable to provide a sample because of her medical conditions

New report on 2017 wildfires calls for better coordination with B.C. First Nations

Tsilhqot’in National Government documents 2017 disaster and lists 33 calls to action

Okanagan experience for the Blue Man Group

The world tour of the Blue Man Group came to Penticton this week for two shows.

B.C. youth coach banned amid sexual harassment, bullying scandal: Water Polo Canada

Justin Mitchell can’t take part in Water Polo Canada events or clubs

Wilson-Raybould: Feds want to just ‘manage the problem’ of Indigenous Peoples

Former federal justice minister speaks at First Nations Justice Council meeting in B.C.

Okanagan College names new fundraising director

Helen Jackman will join the college as executive director of the Okanagan College Foundation and director of advancement

Most Read