An open letter to mayor and council.
As one of the Cariboo municipalities attracted by the economic promises of Taseko Mines Prosperity project, you have noted the need for a balance between the economy, environment, social and cultural aspects of the proposal.
However, your advertisements suggest that economics trump the other three.
Your suggestion of balance seems disingenuous.
The City of Williams Lake’s support for the mine was conditional. Taseko’s proposal had to meet provincial and federal environmental standards, and First Nations were to be adequately consulted.
The first mine proposal did neither and was rejected by the federal government.
The second proposal doesn’t meet those requirements, either.
The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency panel’s 323-page report found serious environmental impacts.
It concluded “the effects are of high magnitude, regional, irreversible in the long term and that the ecological context is extremely sensitive. Because the significant adverse effect on fish is caused mainly by poor water quality and because the poor water quality was determined to be immitigable, the effect on fish and fish habitat is also immitigable.” (Panel Report, Oct. 31, 2013, CEAR #1178, p. 115).
The First Nations opposed both proposals.
The recent panel agreed: “The Panel concludes that the Project would result in significant adverse effects on the Tsilhqot’in: current use of lands and resources for traditional purposes, and on cultural heritage. These effects cannot be mitigated.” (Panel Report, Oct. 31, 2013, CEAR #1178, p. 197).
The independent Panel’s findings, which have incorporated a broad cross-section of public opinion and community concern, have already taken into account the aforementioned balance that you originally espoused.
We suggest the city council and mayor revisit the findings of the panel; the ‘need for balance’ has been considered in the panel’s report.