So I finally achieved one of my big life goals — to write for the local Tofino newspaper. I got to cover an issue of significant concern to a lot of community members, too!
Here’s a glimpse of what I discovered in my research…
A local First Nations official has raised concerns about the province’s response to a recent jet fuel spill along the edge of Kennedy Lake, 33 kilometres inland from the Tofino-Ucluelet junction.
In the aftermath of the release of about 2,500 litres of aviation fuel from a Canadian Air-Crane truck June 15, Saya Masso, Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation’s natural resources manager told CBC Radio he’d been prevented from monitoring the impacts to their traditional land.
“We were shut down from accessing the site by Ministry of the Environment,” he said, speaking to host Jason D’Souza on All Points West, describing how a traffic controller wouldn’t allow him on scene. “I said, ‘Well I have more right to go over to that creek than anyone else here. It’s our traditional territory.’”
Thousands of people were stranded when Highway 4 was closed in both directions. The road reopened after about 24 hours, but it took days for TFN to get in the “email loop” with government officials, he told the public broadcaster.
Masso also told the interviewer more fuel ran into Kennedy Lake than otherwise might have due to weather conditions that day.
“There was such high flows of rain it was very difficult to contain,” he said. “There was definitely some seepage into the lake.”
In an interview with the Westerly, Masso said he believes there were better avenues for communication with the province.
“It was a pretty chaotic scene for our guardian that was out there,” he said. “It was a learning curve for us.”
Okay now go check out the rest of the article online on the newspaper’s website! (Thx for the great photo Nora btw).