Noise, light pollution from Avalon's Nechalacho rare earth project impacting aurora viewing at Blachford Lake Lodge
Northern News Services
Published Friday, February 22, 2013
Blachford Lake Lodge had guests from China, Japan, the United Kingdom and Australia last week.
Mike Freeland, owner of Blachford Lake Lodge, which is located seven km north of the Nechalacho rare earth project, came to the public hearing for the proposed mine to say the future of Blachford as a wilderness lodge is in jeopardy with the emerging Avalon Rare Metals Inc. project. - Thandiwe Vela/NNSL photo
They had travelled all the way from those countries specifically to see the Northern lights from the lodge's aurora viewing decks. It was cloudy, and there were no aurora borealis in sight. But the tourists did see another kind of Northern light on that upper deck, according to lodge owner Mike Freeland.
"They were saying, 'Oh there they are, they're on the horizon.' And we had to say, 'No, those aren't really aurora, that's the glow from an exploration camp,'" said Freeland.
The guests are not the only ones disillusioned by the wilderness resort's unlikely neighbour, Avalon Rare Metals Inc.'s Nechalacho project camp site, which is seven km away from the lodge by air.
Freeland made a presentation at the public hearing for the proposed rare earth mine at Thor Lake this week at the Tree of Peace Friendship Centre, telling the Mackenzie Valley Environmental Impact Review Board that the future of Blachford Lake Lodge, which has operated as a wilderness resort for more than 30 years, is in jeopardy with the emerging Avalon project.