‘No trust whatsover’: Northern Manitoba community wants consultation, not action, on mine rehabilitation – Manitoba

A northern Manitoba community councillor says people in her area no longer trust the province to properly clean up pollution left behind by an old mine, eight years into the rehabilitation process.

“We’re the ones that are going to be left here once everybody packs up and goes back home,” said Debi Hatch, a community councillor for Sherridon, Man., about 650 kilometres northwest of Winnipeg. “And we’re going to be left with, does it work?

The province began a remediation project in 2009 to rehabilitate land in the area and Camp Lake, an old tailings lake left behind by the now-defunct Sherritt Gordon Mine. Last week, the province started to move forward with the final phase of the project, which includes rerouting a temporary spawning creek established in 2009 into Camp Lake instead of Kississing Lake.

Fish are spawning in Sherling Creek, built as a temporary channel. (Submitted/Debi Hatch)

But Hatch said the community isn’t confident the lake is healthy enough to support the fish and worries it will hurt the fish population in Kississing Lake. She said the lake is the community’s main resource

“It means everything,” she said. “People — they get their food from it, there’s lodges on the lake, there’s lots of boating, kids swim in it.”

“We’re very happy with the work that they’ve done so far by taking all the tailings, they’re not blowing around now,” she said. “But we want to finish this project off where it’s not going to cause any damage.”

Kississing Lake on the left, and Camp Lake on the right. The community wonders if Camp Lake is ready to be declared remediated. (SubmittedéDebi Hatch)

Last week, community members set up a road blockade on the highway into the area to prevent provincial equipment from entering, but took it down around an hour later after learning the province had put the project on hold.

A spokesperson for Manitoba Mineral Resources told CBC News remaining work won’t be done until the province consults further…

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