Strong reactions are reverberating across the South Cariboo since the federal government recently rejected the New Prosperity Mine project.
After an independent panel condemned the mine in its environmental assessment report, Environment Minister Leona Aglukkaq and cabinet declined to pass the controversial project.
Local project opponent Barbara Hooper says she is “thrilled” to hear the proposed mine was rejected in Ottawa, after the lengthy lobbying efforts of many First Nations and other people who fought to prevent it.
Now, Hooper adds one of her main concerns is potential fallout if Taseko Mines continue to pursue a resolution through the federal judicial review that commenced in December.
“It makes such a ‘laughing stock’ of the environmental review process – both federally and provincially. We really need to be able to trust that process now.”
Noting it has been a divisive issue in the community, Hooper says she wishes more people could imagine themselves in the place of the Tsilhqot’in people most adversely affected by the mine.
“[What if] they were going to make the 108 Lake into a tailings pond? How would that make people around the 108 Mile Ranch feel?”
Meanwhile, local businessman Allan Roberts says the project would have been a good investment for Canadians, British Columbians and the people of the Cariboo-Chilcotin.
“I’m also disappointed for the future of the [First Nations] that are west of Williams Lake, at 85 per cent unemployment.”
The federal government has made the wrong decision and people will make that clear in the next election, he adds.
“I absolutely believe the project will move forward, and I don’t think anyone should be claiming any victories at this point.”