The Williams Lake Indian Band issued a Pollution Abatement Order yesterday to the City of Williams Lake regarding the sewage effluent into the Williams Lake River Valley and the Fraser River.
In a media release, Chief Willie Sellars said “We had no choice but to issue this order, given the lack of engagement and dialogue with the Ministry of Environment. We recognize that this is an emergency situation and not one that the City of Williams Lake was able to prevent”.
Sellars added, “We know the City is doing what it can, but the Ministry of Environment and the Province of British Columbia does not seem to approach this incident, or it’s obligations to WLIB, with sufficient gravity”.
The Williams Lake Indian Band has a reserve at the mouth of Williams Creek at the confluence with the Fraser River.
Sellers said “The discharge is running right through our lands. The Fraser River is a key fishery for the people of the Williams Lake Indian Band”.
Sellars went on to say “WLIB needs to be working in concert with the Province and the City of Williams Lake to ensure that there is an appropriate response to this sewer discharge. In the absence of that assurance from MOE, we will work with the City to ensure there is an adequate mitigation strategy, that appropriate testing is done, and that the implications of this discharge are understood as thoroughly as possible”.