Toquaht Bay access to Broken Group closed

Discussion in 'General Paddling Discussions' started by mick_allen, Mar 21, 2013.

  1. Astoriadave

    Astoriadave Paddler

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    Questions abound:
    What ores are sought?
    In what quantities?
    Over what projected time periods?
    Would the mining company mitigate loss of the CG and launch site by constructuing and maintaining an equivalent setup nearby?
    Where will the spoils from the proposed mine accumulate?
    And, what treatment is planned to reduce levels of noxious chemicals to safe levels?
     
  2. bigbear

    bigbear Paddler

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    It is all getting very interesting...............
     
  3. jk

    jk Paddler

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    Yup, that would support Ken's conspiracy theory. Let's see, eight weeks for the study, six months to create a replacement launch/campsite, one season of use to gain acceptance as the new location, that'd be about the right time for the mine announcement. My bet is Spring 2015 to officially announce the mine with the port at the present launch location, with actual groundwork probably starting imminently. Who else wants in the pool?
     
  4. justincdst

    justincdst Paddler

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    Its is very interesting. I'll see JK's bet! Hopefully what little their stock (RDG) keeps declining though and they won't be able to afford such an undertaking. Again, Hopefully!
     
  5. jk

    jk Paddler

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    If RDG doesn't have the cash, consider the band. What a perfect partner for the venture. So second part of the bet: that the Toquaht band comes in as a partner on the mine. Third part: it will NEVER reopen as a campsite/launch. Hard to cash in on a 'never' bet though.
     
  6. ken_vandeburgt

    ken_vandeburgt Paddler

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    Internet search yields: a BC Mining Bulletin from 1968; a DFO study from 1975; an assessment report in 1988 that includes a chemical analysis, and, a preliminary economic assessment by Logan Minerals in 2008.

    http://www.empr.gov.bc.ca/Mining/Geosci ... Bull55.pdf

    http://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/Library/73901.pdf

    http://aris.empr.gov.bc.ca/ArisReports/18150.PDF

    http://www.newswire.ca/en/story/337417/ ... island-b-c

    From which the following obtains:

    Brynnor Mine produced Magnetite with a high concentration of Iron (56%)

    Projected quantities should the mine be reopened are:

    Measured 4 990 000 tons

    inferred 18 620 000 tons

    Projected life of mine is: 8 years with cost break even point after 2 years.

    The mine has a waste pit from the previous operation as an open pit.

    The dfo report indicates there doesn't seem to be a problem with heavy metals affecting sea life at Toquart Bay

    Interesting to note that reason given for stopping development of the underground portion of Brynnor mine in 1968 was due to heavy ingress of water. Brynnor Mine holds Canadian record for rain in 24 hours.

    The problem with closure of the campgound and launch site is nowhere mentioned. That being said, there isn't an alternative site available. The shores in that area are mostly steep rock.

    Keep in mind there are no announcements yet that the mine will be reopened or if that is the reason behind the closure of the campground. But it sure looks like thats whats happening.
     
  7. bigbear

    bigbear Paddler

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    Yep.........sure looks that way...
     
  8. VanIslePaddler

    VanIslePaddler Paddler

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    Hey Folks.

    I do not think there is a consipiricy going on regarding the Toquaht Bay closure.

    On behalf of the SKGABC I have had conversations with the Toquaht on this issue.

    Yes, the Toquaht have signed an MOU with the mining exploration company... they did some testing on the site for a few years but they are not currently developing the site (It would take years and millions of dollers to get a mine active again... if it is even profitable)

    The Toquaht were actually looking to continue developing the campground as a campground / destination. It is a money maker. As part of the treaty the BC Government conducted testing (independent of the Toquaht). The results of the testing (done by an independent consultant) were given to the Ministry of Forests, which forwarded the results to Vancouver Island Health Authority (VIHA). VIHA issued the closure notice simply due to the level of contamination. Toquaht had no say in the closure.

    Apparently the mine is not currently economically viable. Even if it was, it would take years and millions of dollars to develop it, and there is no benefit for the Toquaht to close the money making campsite now, when no mine has been confirmed.

    So in summary:

    - It was NOT the Toquaht who closed the campground
    - It was VIHA that closed the site due to test results
    - Toquaht actually had a proposal to continue development of the site as a campground/launch/(perhaps some cabins) type spot.
    - It would have to be a multi-party consipircy (Toquaht / VIHA / Ministry of Forests / the Environmental Consultant) if this was the case...

    Cheers,
    Liam
     
  9. Astoriadave

    Astoriadave Paddler

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    Liam,

    Do you know of an authoritative source which details the degree and nature of contamination?

    Arsenic and selenium are present in many natural environments, at ppb or ppt levels, but in a form which is not readily taken up by normal human activities ... and typically there are action lebele set bygovernment agencies. Below those levela, no sancion is imposed. Above, restrictions on access are imposed.

    Might allay some of the uncertainty and distress for past and future visitors if the preliminary testing results were published and explained.
     
  10. jk

    jk Paddler

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    Liam, this is my version of "in summary:"

    1. The band signs a deal taking over Toquaht Bay on the condition the province takes responsibility for any contamination. This shows a) an awareness of either the contamination or a very high probability of it, and b) a high level of sophistication and forward thinking so as not to get saddled with a disaster. This is not a clause put in by naive bumpkins.

    2. The band signs an MOU with a mining company. This shows at least a general acceptance of the mining concept.

    3. Mining company distributes marketing information explicitly showing the use of Toquaht band land. This must have some level of complicity with someone in the band. It is not reasonable to think a company would promote completely unauthorized use of private land with no reasonable expectation of access. Also, the fact the Toquaht band didn't/hasn't objected shows some level of acceptance. I mean, unsanctioned use of Indian land? Worth a very loud outcry unless you're accepting. Also, bad business for the mining company to pin hopes on a strategy that could be killed by a simple 'no.'

    4. Toquaht band undertakes activity that triggers an environmental assessment. But why? I'm sure it could have been quietly agreed between the province and the band that an expansion of existing use is not cause for the assessment, especially with the known likelihood it would be found to be a contanimated property requiring a cleanup that would close the campsite.

    Here's the million dollar question: who triggered the assessment? Not who undertook it, but who actually put finger to phone and said this must be done.

    I guarantee this is what DID NOT happen: a bureaucrat read something, jumped up from his desk and said, "Hey folks, the Toquaht are planning some new campsites and an outhouse. That triggers Clause #253 subsection 6 of the Maa-nulth Treaty. Let's get busy with that testing gear!"

    But this is roughly the scenario that we are expected to believe: that it was just a random following of protocol.

    5. Band takes position of oops, we were naive. Which #1 shows the band is not.

    6. Band member says to Liam the mine isn't a factor as it wouldn't be viable. To be credible, said band member would a) have to have intimate knowledge of the mining project and mining industry overall and spent an inordinate amount of time studying all this, or b) this comment is passed on third-hand as a remarkably convenient deflection. Not to say the guy was lying, Liam, but it's funny how unsubstantiated comments can become used as gospel especially if they are convenient to provide a basis for acting as you have.

    Here's an analogy: you sign an MOU with Costco for the development of your house, you set in motion specific steps that lead to the demolition of your house, fortuitously to be paid for by the government and oddly in keeping with the Costco initiative, then say, "Naa, I didn't blow up the house because of Costco. They're not going to expand right now, it's too expensive to build." Meanwhile, Costco is distributing blueprints for its plans...

    Sorry, Liam, the "oops, we didn't know" excuse is far less credible than the "conspiracy" theory. Not that all band members were in the loop. Nope, find who made the call to put the assessment in motion and you have the answer to the who and why.
     
  11. Astoriadave

    Astoriadave Paddler

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    John,

    Your summary has the smell of authenticity, with the Costco analogy very compelling.

    Sometimes, however, it is some random, poorly thought out request that makes these things tumble out. Could be the assessment was in the works and got stuck in a backlog.

    It is frustrating that we do not know what the preliminary survey says. There are good ways and not so good ways to make such assessments, with sampling error issues perhaps a main problem at the CG. To wit: if the contamination is not uniformly distributed in the tailings, then the spot(s) where they took their shovelfuls might seriously misrepresent the actual contamination levels.

    Mine tailings are very high on the list of places to look for chemical contaminants ... the tailings have been there for what 50 years? You'd think they would have been assessed long ago, especially in view of the fact the RV crowd and sportsfishers have used those tailings for extended camping for a very long time.
     
  12. Dan_Millsip

    Dan_Millsip Paddler & Admin

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    MOU?

    I assume this acronym stands for Memorandum of Understanding?
     
  13. jk

    jk Paddler

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    True. For instance, it's likely a band member phoned to ministry to query whether the campsite proposal warranted the assessment, which brought it about. It's also likely the band is taking a wait-and-see approach to the mine, neither supporting nor endorsing it but observing with no risk and no commitment. No nefarious conspiracy at all.

    Regardless, what we have now is the mine information coming out after a public information session where the mine apparently wasn't even mentioned. So a lot of people are and will be surprised and angry to find out there is another proposed use for the site and we're all left wondering how this fits in to the closure. The answers Liam got don't clarify anything, such as there's no reason to close the campsite as it is a moneymaker. A few months a year of campsite fees isn't even close to the proceeds from 5-18 million tonnes of ore, so being a moneymaker is no reason to keep the campsite open.

    One final point then I'll back off the discussion. When I found out the Toquaht campsite was part of the Maa-nulth treaty my first reaction was here's prime west coast waterfront in an area starved for resort property (what with Tofino now used up and Ucluelet spreading ever higher over rocks). So I figured a resort wasn't far away, as I don't expect the Toquaht to be content with $30 camping fees spread over acres when a four-storey resort would offer $300+ a night in less space. So maybe a mine first, then a resort. Either way I don't expect that it will be a campsite in 20-100 years. That launch privelege is going to disappear. With the Maa-nulth Treaty just the tip of the iceberg considering the majority of the Nuu-chah-nulth have no agreement yet, this type of situation is going to be twentyfold in Clayoquot and Nootka sounds. I don't begrudge the Nuu-chah-nulth anything. I just wish that public values were also represented at the negotiating table. Otherwise it will be privatization of every choice parcel of coastal property, and I guarantee the public recreation component will be the component hardest hit. Kayaking the west coast will become as problematic as the Gulf Islands for finding space. Sermon over, thanks for listening!
     
  14. pgrey

    pgrey New Member

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    I am not sure whether Toquaht will open any time soon. The word I'm getting down the pipeline indicates it could be closed a very long time. The best solution to this scenario is to find an alternate launch site close by (and not polluted, of course). I'm keeping my fingers crossed. A lot of people are working on this.
     
  15. Dan_Millsip

    Dan_Millsip Paddler & Admin

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    You'd think that Parks Canada would be looking for an access solution as well. Anyone heard anything from them?
     
  16. VanIslePaddler

    VanIslePaddler Paddler

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    Word from the Toquaht, an 'Announcement' coming, hopefully by next week.

    See SKGABC.com http://www.skgabc.com/

    Basically the Toquaht are simply waiting for the province to give the 'go-ahead' on a plan they have proposed, which will include an alternative launch site availble for use THIS YEAR.
    They have been planning for some time to develope one site as a comprehensive campground/launch site, but while that gets developed (they have to clear trees, make parking spots, etc... heavy machinery) they plan to have an intrim location available sooner rather than later.

    Keep an eye on the SKGABC site, they will try and post any updates ASAP.

    Cheers,
    Liam
     
  17. Gecko Paddler

    Gecko Paddler Paddler

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    WOW! That is good news and not to soon enough as we are planning on heading to the Broken Group over the May long weekend. Nice!!

    Mark
     
  18. jk

    jk Paddler

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    I gather the new location is 'Secret Beach' south of the Toquaht Bay campground north of the reserve. It looks like a decent spot on Google Earth. It should also shave a few km off a trip. Apparently bulldozers are working the site. Hopefully it's not contaminated.
     
  19. mick_allen

    mick_allen Paddler & Moderator

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    some more info:
     

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  20. bigbear

    bigbear Paddler

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    Shame!!!! Talk about a cash grab.........$10 per vehicle (per day) and $20 per kayak launch. Outrageous!