Land and Forests

By: Watershed Sentinel  09-12-2011

by Morgan Hite and Dave Stevens

In January 2005 the neighbours first learned that a company called Blue Pearl had optioned the rights to begin mining Hudson Bay Mountain, right next to Smithers, BC. The seven million tonne deposit of molybdenum ore had been explored in the 1970s but never put into production. In the subsequent three decades, land originally set aside for a tailings pond and processing plant had been sold off and turned into housing developments. Housing had grown up to the foot of the mountain in the area below the historical mine site. By 2005 people lived close to the old mine site, and in many cases drew their water from the slopes below it.

We felt that something needed to be done to make sure this mine was done right, and most importantly, that water quality would be protected. To that end a number of groups were formed. This initial tack, of forming more than one local group, proved to be very fruitful later on.

We formed an umbrella group for the whole Bulkley Valley called Hudson Bay Mountain Neighborhoods. One  neighbourhood group was the Lake Kathlyn Protection Society, whose members took their water from Lake Kathlyn, directly below the proposed mine site. Another was the Glacier Gulch Water Group, whose members shared a communal well on a small creek flowing from the site of 1970s exploration work.

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