Life was a Bowl of Cherries before Polley Mine Disaster

Twenty-Five kilometres from Horsefly along Ditch Road, Rod Marining looks downstream of what was once a 2 meter-wide-creek that grew hundreds of meters wide due to Mnt. Polley's tailing pond collapse. Imperial Metals Corp. stated they do not have the estimated $400 million to clean up this site. Photo: Chris Blake

Twenty-Five kilometres from Horsefly along Ditch Road, Rod Marining looks downstream of what was once a 2 meter-wide-creek that grew hundreds of meters wide due to Mnt. Polley’s tailing pond collapse. Imperial Metals Corp. stated they do not have the estimated $400 million to clean up this site. Photo: Chris Blake

BC Holiday weekend: “Life is a bowl full of cherries,” I announced at a family gathering. We were all having a beautiful time. We were at the family cabin at Quesnel Lake. Early Monday morning, I got up to pee at 3:00 am and I was sleeping on my boat, which was docked in front of the cabin. I heard this continuous roar, like a 747 jet towards the town of Likely. Then I noticed that the boat was rocking, while a minute ago Quesnel Lake was like glass. That’s odd. I knew that Polley Mine was within a few miles, but I just returned to bed, puzzled by the strange noise.

In the morning, I swam in the lake and drank out of the lake (love that coffee). When we left the cabin and entered the realm of cell, TV, and radio coverage, I found out that I was swimming in and drinking toxic sludge laced with arsenic, mercury, cynanide, etc. The full horror story of the Polley Mine disaster was revealed.

Nice ending to my weekend. Life is not a bowl full of cherries. I found myself back in 150 Mile House scrubbing my body over and over like I was borderline insane.

I was mad as hell that one could not swim in or drink water from Quesnel Lake. This incredible lake was no longer pristine and I was now caught up in a political madness wanting to know why and how this happened. I received a call Monday that a radio station wanted to talk to me about my experience. Take a listen, but start at 3:32 minutes.

Three days later, I am sitting in the Likely Lodge Restaurant and who walks in? I will give you a hint. She was not wearing a hard hat. You got it. It was Christy Clark.

“Could you please tell me where the washroom is?” Christy asked.

The restaurant lady gave her routine speech, “You have to use the outhouse.” Christy looked puzzled. “The outhouse is across the street,” said the young lady.

Numerous people had entered the restaurant looking for a bathroom, all getting the same answer. It shows that we are all unaware of the ramifications from this disaster. Even Christy forgot for a moment that there was a water ban in effect.

Every day we read more info on this spill of toxic sludge. This lake is the deepest lake in North America. This lake has a vortex, said one resident. Many believe the lake currents are related to wind currents. You would think that the debris from the spill would head towards the outflow river. However, the debris is heading in the opposite direction. Then there was a green plume, which many could see. It seemed to reappear at times. Many believe the green was part of the 18,000 plus tonnes of copper in the tailings pond.

The 2.3 million Sockeye salmon will most likely pick up contaminants as they head to the salmon grounds to spawn. Therefore, up the Quesnel Lake and up rivers, such as the Horsefly River, the salmon could be acting as a vector for contamination. It is possible that these salmon are carrying some of the one million pounds of arsenic in their gills. All that eat the salmon could be also contaminated. Who would have thought salmon could be a vector for arsenic or other chemicals? Another ramification I never thought of.

Rod Marining

150 Mile House, BC

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