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Over the past years more than 40 community meetings have been organized and hosted by Mount Polley management and environmental staff. Meetings have been held in the communities of Likely, Quesnel, Horsefly, Big Lake and Williams Lake. These meetings provided an opportunity for local residents to learn about the activities and progress of the remediation work and research programs being conducted, and the opportunity to engage and ask questions. Guest speakers have included consultants and representatives from provincial Ministries.
The Mount Polley Mine Public Liaison Committee (PLC) is comprised of representatives from the local communities of Likely, Big Lake, Horsefly and Williams Lake, local First Nations, government ministries, consultants and mine staff. Meetings are held on a quarterly basis, with the purpose to share information about activities at the mine site with the PLC members, who are there as representatives of their communities. The agenda for each meeting includes updates on mine operations, environmental monitoring, and remediation. There is also a roundtable discussion at each meeting for all participants to pose questions and discuss any community concerns.
Mount Polley staff have provided numerous site tours of the mine and areas impacted by the 2014 breach. Participants have included local residents, First Nations, school groups, government and community group representatives and media.
In partnership initiative with MineralsEd, Mount Polley staff hosted a group of SD 27 teachers as part of their professional development. MineralsEd is a BC educational organization dedicated to encouraging and supporting Earth science, mineral resources and mining education in school.
Comments received from the SD27 Teachers Site Tour:
What surprised you most about the remediation work?
“The actual effort put into conserve and preserve the land; seeing sockeye salmon” Kam T, Grades 8-12
“The water plant and salmon in Hazeltine Creek. I thought it would take longer for fish to come back” Marty S, Grades K-12
“The very detailed and elaborate work around the creek.” Debbie W, Grades 10-12
“How much has been done in a short period of time, and how quickly the ecosystem is recovering.” Jamayca W, Grade 5/6
What part of this learning experience will you be able to incorporation into your teaching?
“Just showing students the big environmental problem, in time is repairable.” Marty S, Grades K-12
“The amount of work that was put into the site to repair the area after the breach”. Debbie W, Grades 10-12
Mount Polley staff hosted a two day site tour and meetings for members of the Global Tailings Review Project. Local representatives from government, Williams Lake Indian Band (T’exelcemc First Nation) and Soda Creek Indian Band (Xat’sull First Nation), Cariboo Regional District, Big Lake and Horsefly Business Association, and Likely Chamber of Commerce were also invited.
A group of BC Technical & Research Committee members tour Mount Polley remediation areas, including the lower Hazeltine Creek, as part of the 2018 Reclamation Conference.
The remediation of Edney and Hazeltine creeks has been planned and advanced through the direct collaboration of the Habitat Remediation Working Group (HRWG) which includes Mount Polley mine employees and their consultants, Williams Lake and Xatśūll First Nations and their consultants, Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development. Ministry of Environment, and Department of Fisheries and Oceans. The HRWG inspected the construction of habitat features in the Lower Hazeltine Creek, the weir and fish ladder at Polley Lake, the functioning spawning habitat in Upper Hazeltine Creek, and the terrestrial plant growth in Polley Flats. The tour also viewed all stages of remediation, from installation of habitat features to a remediated ecosystem in Upper Hazeltine Creek that is maturing into a self-sustaining landscape used by all manner of life forms.
Tour discussion topics included local nursery plant sources, local contractors support in the remediation efforts, reflections on how far the remediation has advanced, reopening plans for the mine, plans for the continued use of the weir on Polley Lake for flood control, and fish rearing in Hazeltine Creek until the plants in the terrestrial flood plain mature, and the in-stream habitat features installed which are potentially superior to those which existed pre-2014.
Community tour viewing Hazeltine Creek from the rebuilt Gavin Lake Road Bridge.