ACTION FOR OUR AQUIFERS

new- action for our aquifers

We currently manage groundwater with a blindfold on. We lack a full understanding of how much we have or how withdrawals affect the health of our surface rivers, lakes and streams. And yet, much like a bank account, we have to manage our groundwater wisely: we can’t withdraw more than what goes in. Otherwise, we could become the next California or Cape Town.

The community of Merville in Comox Valley on Vancouver Island relies on an aquifer for their drinking water. Impacts of climate change are already being felt by residents as water shortages become more common during summer droughts. Yet, a conditional water licence has been issued by the Province of BC to allow the extraction of up to 10,000 litres of freshwater per day for a commercial bottling operation. We wouldn’t make daily withdrawals from a bank account without knowing the balance. Why do this with our most precious asset, our freshwater?

K’ómoks First Nation (KFN) expressed disappointment that the Province did not properly consult, and has come out in strong opposition to the water extraction licence. Community members are concerned that cumulative impacts to the aquifer and surface water flows are not adequately known, or accounted for as part of the licensing process. Residents haven’t had access to an aquifer study that was done in support of the Province’s approval.

It is time for British Columbia to take the lead in showing transparency and accountability in protecting our aquifers, rivers and lakes. Send your letter below to show you stand in solidarity with the community of Merville and K’ómoks First Nations. Together we have the power to defend our shared waters.

Please consider visiting the Our Water BC website for information on sending a letter to the Honourable Doug Donaldson, Minister of Forest, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development here.

Send a letter today!

 

Kus-kus-sum: “Unpave a Parking Lot To Put up Paradise”

The Comox Valley Council of Canadians is excited to present an open house and information update on the biggest, most ambitious ‘re-wilding’ project ever undertaken in the Comox Valley.

Project Watershed (PW) and the K’ómoks First Nation share a dream to restore the old Fields Sawmill site on the Courtenay River to estuary salt-mash and riverside forest and in the process reconnect the river to the Hollyhock intertidal channels. The project site is named Kus-kus-sum in recognition of the historic First Nation village once located in the area.

Thursday, April 19, 7 pm in the Lower Native Sons Hall, Dan Bowen, Project Watershed Technical Director, will share the vision for the site’s future and highlight the project’s many benefits and historic significance to the Comox Valley.

“The aim of the Kus-kus-sum Project”, says Bowen, “is to restore the Courtenay River channel habitat back to its natural condition – we will ‘un-pave’ the sawmill parking lot and put up a paradise. This ambitious project will make the river and estuary a healthier place not only for fish and wildlife but for all of us.”

The evening’s agenda also includes an overview of past and current projects with an update on Project Watershed’s latest initiatives. You’ll enjoy informal discussions with directors and volunteers and the opportunity to view displays that focus on the varied services Project Watershed provides the community.

In support of Kus-kus-sum, beautiful art cards and posters, chocolate bars, colourful shopping bags and raffle tickets will be for sale. Donations will be accepted at the door. “Every purchase, every donation gets us closer to transforming the eyesore in the heart of our Valley into functioning habitat,” states PW director, Bill Heidrick.

The 2017 recipient of the Chapter’s annual Community Action Award, Project Watershed’s mission as a local, non-profit environmental organization is “to promote community stewardship of Comox Valley Watersheds through education, information and action”.

Everyone is invited on Thursday, April 19 to the Lower Native Sons Hall, 360 Cliffe Ave, Courtenay, at 7 pm to enjoy an informative open house.

Site C: What Can You Do?

Did you miss the town hall on March 23 Site C: Is it a Done Deal?

Ken Boon of the Peace River Landowner Association and Steve Gray of the Peace Valley Solidarity Initiative left a strong message of hope that we must continue to fight against the unnecessary and destructive Site C project.

Here are some things you can do:

Write letters to the Premier, your MLA, members of Cabinet, the media. You can use this link for letter writing points and contact information.

Talk to your friends and colleagues about the issue.

Some links for further information:

To join the Comox Valley Islanders for the Peace and receive alerts of further actions/event, email comoxvalleyiftp@gmail.com

Peace Valley Landowner Association is asking for our help in paying the bills accumulated during the BCUC process. For further information and ways to donate www.peacevalleyland.com

Fundraising site for the Yellow Stakes campaign        www.stakeinthepeace.com

Information on the injunction and civil cases brought by the West Moberly First Nation and Prophet River First Nation      www.sagelegal.ca

Information from the Site C Summit in Victoria, links to videos, presenters’ overheads, working group reports      www.sitecsummit.ca

To join the Site C Summit email list for follow-up news and actions, send an email request to sitecsummit@gmail.com

To join Ken Boon’s Site C-related media updates list, send an email request to Ken at pvla@xplornet.com

The Rolling Justice Bus is on Facebook

Water: A Human Right, A Public Trust, A Shared Commons

The Council of Canadians are leaders in campaigns to protect Canada’s freshwater sources. Their campaign work, and that of the local Comox Valley Chapter, focuses on recognizing water as a human right, a public trust and shared commons. The commons consists of gifts of nature such as fresh water, oceans, air and wildlife.

Water as a human right is to be shared, carefully managed, and protected from privatization and industrialization.

Water as a public trust puts community water interests ahead of private water users. It requires water be allocated for the needs of citizens and ecosystems first, not those with industrial or private projects.

As a commons, water is no one’s property; it is not a commodity to be sold or a source for personal profit. It is not to be taken, put in plastic bottles and sold to others at exorbitant prices.

The more that private interests control the water supply, the less we, as a community, have a say about our public water. We are currently witnessing how local groups and communities are fighting to protect or regain control of their local surface and ground water, including community-drinking watersheds.

The bottled water industry is one of the most polluting on earth. Only one in six plastic water bottles is recycled. Instead they lie stagnant in landfills and end up as trash in our rivers, streams and oceans. They’re tossed on land, littering roadsides, beaches, parks and forests.

The plastic water bottle is made up of chemicals and fossil fuels that leach into the soil and groundwater. Imagine a water bottle filled a quarter of the way up with oil. That’s about how much oil is needed to produce and transport each and every bottle.

Fresh water is not an infinite resource and we cannot continue to view it as such.

“Groundwater resources are finite. Wasting our limited groundwater on such uses as bottled water is a recipe for disaster. We must safeguard groundwater reserves for our communities and future generations,” states Maude Barlow Honorary Chair of the Council of Canadians. “Bottling water is draining communities here in Canada and around the world.”

At the pace we’re moving with the privatization and industrialization of water, the changes in climate, drought and over extraction, many communities will not have enough fresh water to meet their future needs.