On Mount Polley, how many warnings until action is taken?

The “unsinkable” ship did, of course, sink — and on its maiden voyage.

Any time anybody in any industry proclaims that something cannot happen or likely will not happen, we need to simply recall the tale of the Titanic.

The “unsinkable” ship did, of course, sink — and on its maiden voyage.

Bryan Kynoch is president of Imperial Metals, owner of the Mount Polley mine in the Cariboo that saw its tailings pond fail, sending untold millions of litres of contaminated water into streams, rivers and lakes.

While apologizing for the environmental disaster, Kynoch told reporters: “If you asked me two weeks ago if this could have happened, I would have said it couldn’t.”

Well, it did.

And, based on the fact the Ministry of Environment said it warned Imperial Metals repeatedly about its tailings-pond levels, with the latest of five warnings coming in May.

The questions are many and answers will likely be long in coming, but there are two crucial queries that need to be directed at the company and at the provincial government.

If there were five warnings about the tailings pond, why had the company seemingly not done anything to prevent the disastrous spill that occurred this week.

And, after how many warnings does the Ministry of Environment and the Premier Christy Clark’s government stop issuing warnings and take action — such as shutting down an operation completely until it fixes whatever it was that prompted serial warnings.

The review process, such as it is, appears to be as messy as the disaster’s aftermath.

~ Kamloops This Week