Meet Christine McLean and Judith Pringle – two women from Calgary who first discovered Quesnel Lake two years before the 2014 disaster.
Christine's family bought a home at Mitchell Bay, one of the handful of small communities circling the lakeshore. The lake was to be a wilderness home away from home, a respite from their busy working lives.
Judith remembers her first trip to Mitchell Bay in 2013 as a transformative experience for her daughter. She explains, "When we were at Mitchell Bay, we learned to catch and cook our own fish and just how wonderful and special Quesnel Lake is.”
On 4th August 2014 Judith and her daughter were due to visit Quesnel Lake, we got the phone call from Christine. “I never heard her so devastated,” Judith recalls.
Christine had been expecting a big group of friends and family at their vacation home. “They were all due to arrive the next day, and we had to turn them away because there was no drinking water,” says Christine. We just sat there and watched the environmental disaster unfold
We followed the aftermath of the disaster, but often felt unheard and ignored. We found other like minded residents on Quesnel Lake, who were concerned about the lack of support from the BC Government. We created a simple website and FaceBook page using our own materials.
Over the past few years the BC Ministry of Environment has approved many permits for Mount Polley Mine, but the final straw came in April 2017. The mine was approved to discharged mine waste water directly into Quesnel Lake, adding insult to injury.
We decided to launch an environmental appeal against this permit approval. Christine and Judith started to build a legal strategy. We have received much needed support from West Coast Environmental Law’s Environmental Dispute Resolution Fund (EDRF). Through the EDRF and other partner organizations Christine has been provided with funding to retain a private lawyer to assist with their EAB appeal.
Courtesy of WCEL article
All images on the CCQL website are taken in around Quesnel Lake by CCQL Members