Clayoquot Action
Rally outside Imperial Metals AGM May 2013

Imperial Metals AGM Rally!

A crowd of 50 rallied May 29th outside the prestigious Terminal City Club in downtown Vancouver to voice their opposition to Imperial Metals’ proposal to build 2 mines in Clayoquot Sound.

“We are here to send Imperial a clear message that heavy mining activity is unacceptable in Clayoquot, and that environmental values and First Nations rights and concerns must be respected,” said Torrance Coste, Vancouver Island Campaigner with the Wilderness Committee.

Imperial Metals is a Vancouver-based mining company who acquired mineral rights in Clayoquot Sound in 2009. Their mine proposals in the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve include the Catface Mountain open-pit copper mine in Ahousaht First Nations’ un-ceded territory, and the Fandora Gold mine in Tla-o-qui-aht First Nations’ un-ceded territory.

The Fandora proposal involves re-activating an old gold mine in the Tranquil Valley that was closed back in the 60s. With gold prices so high, there is a global trend towards re-opening old mines. Imperial Metals is currently applying to drill up to 10 test holes, with an average depth of 500 metres.

Tla-o-qui-aht First Nations do not support mining in their territories and do not want any exploration done by Imperial. “Imperial Metals’ proposed gold mine at the Fandora site would have massive negative impacts on our Nuu-chah-nulth ways and our attempts to ensure the well-being of our Tla-o-qui-aht Peoples and our environment” said Terry Dorward, Tla-o-qui-aht Councillor.

It is unthinkable that 20 years after the mass protests of 1993 that Imperial Metals is proposing two mines in Clayoquot Sound. These mines would damage the landscape and present a toxic risk to the salmon that feed the ancient forests—a toxic legacy that would endure for centuries.

The rally showed Imperial Metals shareholders that they will face massive public opposition to their plans to mine in the Clayoquot Sound UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.

Clayoquot Sound sea kayakers in Tofino harbour. Sander Jain photo.

Introducing Clayoquot Action

Joe Foy, the Wilderness Committee’s National Campaign Director, has been the driving force behind many of their campaigns, including the Stein and Carmanah Valleys. Joe’s passion for the wild is inspired and informed by the thousands of hours he has spent exploring BC’s wild places.

There are few places on the planet that vibrate with an awe-inspiring abundance of life in the way that Clayoquot Sound does.

Moss-hung ancient forests grace the land, with some trees as tall as a skyscraper, as wide as your living room and as old as a European cathedral. Clayoquot’s many bays and inlets team with fish, seabirds and whales. Black bears roll rocks on the beaches, looking for tasty seafood snacks.

When European traders first sailed into Clayoquot Sound in the 18th century, Nuu-chah-nulth villages had already been there for many centuries.

Several decades ago, the Nuu-chah-nulth people launched a successful court challenge to prevent logging that threatened the forests of Meares Island. Around the same time the Tofino-based group Friends of Clayoquot Sound was formed to counter the push by multi-national logging companies who wanted to clearcut the region.

The 1990s saw the largest anti-logging protests in Canadian history happening in Clayoquot Sound.

Today, new threats stalk Clayoquot. Oil tanker traffic, salmon farms and industrial mine proposals threaten to undo the good work of generations of Clayoquot defenders.

But now, 20 years after Clayoquot Summer 1993, a new local group – Clayoquot Action – has been formed to help face these new challenges head on. Clayoquot Action’s founders, Dan Lewis and Bonny Glambeck, were key organizers of those 1990s protests. For the past 25 years they have lived in Clayoquot Sound as keen kayakers, naturalists and ecotourism operators. Dan and Bonny know that although environmental challenges are global by nature, the best place to bring about change is locally, at the community level.

Clayoquot Sound is such a special place. And with the help of Clayoquot Action – may it ever remain so.

Please support Clayoquot Action’s efforts generously through the giving of your time and/or donations.

For the wild…
Joe Foy
Wilderness Committee National Campaign Director

Salmon Confidential inspires Clayoquot Action!

Clayoquot Action hosted filmmaker Twyla Roscovich and wild salmon researcher and advocate Alexandra Morton in Tofino in April. The pair toured BC this spring with Roscovich’s new film Salmon Confidential. They spoke to a sold-out house at the Clayoquot Community Theatre in Tofino after being welcomed to the territory by members of Tla-o-qui-aht First Nations.

In the film Alexandra Morton calls for citizens to stand up for wild salmon by forming Departments of Wild Salmon in local regions. Clayoquot Action is responding to this challenge by launching our Wild Salmon Virus Sampling Project.

Salmon feedlots, like any factory farm, are breeding grounds for disease. When a salmon feedlot has an outbreak, billions of viral particles are shed every hour. These particles are carried far and wide by ocean currents. Because wild fish breath by passing water over their gills, it’s not difficult for viruses to enter their bloodstream and voila! the disease has transferred from farmed to wild salmon. The solution is simple: remove salmon farms from wild salmon migration routes. Act now to protect Clayoquot’s wild salmon!

Beginning in late summer and early fall, Clayoquot Action volunteers will hit the rivers to sample wild salmon for the presence of viruses introduced by salmon farms. Stay tuned for further details…