Letters: Not off Mt. Polly hook

Let’s demystify this engineering jargon and point the finger at those responsible.

Editor, The News:

In the recently released Mount Polley investigative report, which was charged with the responsibility of finding why Imperial Metals Mine’s and the Mount Polly tailings dam failed with catastrophic results, dumping millions of tonnes of toxic waste into Quesnel Lake, I have some observations here.

The report summaries thusly, and said “the [dam’s] design failed to take into account the complexity of the instability of underlying glacial and pre-glacial layers under the retaining wall. But the authors, geotechnicians Norbert Morganstern and Steve Vick, did not blame provincial inspectors for not detecting the problem beforehand. The investigators said the dam was built on a weak layer of glacial deposits that was undetected at the time, making the dam like a “loaded gun.”

This report goes on to say: “The panel concluded that the dominant contribution to the failure resides in the design. The design did not take into account the complexity of the sub-glacial and pre-glacial geological environment associated with the perimeter embankment foundation. As a result, foundation investigations and associated site characterization failed to identify a continuous GLU layer in the vicinity of the breach and to recognize that it was susceptible to undrained failure when subject to the stresses associated with the embankment.”

However, the panel did not point the smoking gun at government as, on site government inspections would not have been able to see the complexity and weakness in the dam’s initial foundation – they said.

I think the general public can find fault here. We can relate to all buildings in B.C. that come under foundation inspections, as we inherently know that the security of any major building is reliant on being built on a sound foundation.

Let’s demystify this engineering jargon here and say whoever was responsible for the design of the dam’s foundation and the core samples that were taken at the time to determine if a dam could be safely constructed on that site, with a glacial till environment, failed to understand the risks involved here.

Does this leave the government off the hook here? I think not.

Geoff Clayton

Maple Ridge

Just Posted

Maple Ridge chef tops in B.C. for agriculture in the classroom

Chef Brian Smith named the B.C. Agriculture in the Classroom Teacher of the Year

Flames drop to eighth in PJHL

Ridge loses two games over the weekend

Man known to frequent Maple Ridge wanted by Langley RCMP

An arrest warrant is out for Bryce Telford for allegedly impersonating a police officer

New Maple Ridge council has old problem: Albion flats

Staff asking for politicians to decide direction

Canada’s archive buys rare book that hints at Nazi plans for North America

The 1944 book may have served as a blueprint for a Nazi purge

Teravainen’s 3 points lift Hurricanes to 5-2 win over Canucks

Vancouver heads into all-star break on losing note

B.C. hospital apologizes for veteran’s five-day hallway stay

Clinical director of Victoria General Hospital says case of retired veteran ‘definitely excessive’

Speaker Darryl Plecas says ‘justice’ needed for legislature employees

Plecas spoke to media at the opening of a pedestrian and cycling bridge in Abbotsford Wednesday

Advocate hopes B.C. legislature scandal leads to more transparency

‘Depressing’ that it takes a scandal to inspire freedom of information reform, says Sara Neuert

‘Dr. Lipjob’ avoids jail, gets 30-day suspended sentence

She will have to serve the 30 days in prison if she commits a breach during her two-year’s probation

Ex-Mountie involved in Taser death at Vancouver airport sues government

Kwesi Millington claims he acted in accordance with RCMP training

47 men arrested by Vancouver police for allegedly seeking sex with teenage girls

Seven of those arrested have been charged as part of a two-month operation

Surrey farmers taking stock of revamped Canada Food Guide

Products that were once big at the table — like meat and dairy — have been put on the back-burner

Most Read