West Moberly First Nation Chief Roland Willson said the day his nine-year-old son caught a nine pound fish, a dolly varden, in the Williston reservoir should have been a proud moment.
“He caught it in the reservoir but because of what I know about the mercury we couldn’t eat it,” Willson said. “He had snagged it so bad we had to take it home and it ended up going in the garbage.”
The Williston reservoir, resulting from the creation of the W.A.C Bennett dam, is known for containing high levels of mercury, a common feature of large man-made reservoirs containing high levels of organic material. In 2000, the B.C. government issued a fish consumption advisory for the reservoir.
Although that day of fishing on the reservoir was seven years ago, Willson has a new reason to fear those high levels of mercury: the recent approval of the Site C dam.
Willson said he’s concerned the Site C dam will result in similarly contaminated reservoir water.
“Site C is proposed for the same river,” Willson said. “There’s no reason to think this problem is not going to transfer.”