Damming the Peace

An Evening with Wendy Holm, Agrologist and Author

The Comox Valley Chapter of the Council of Canadians welcomes agrologist and author Wendy Holm to Courtenay on Wednesday, July 11, to discuss her latest and critically acclaimed book, Damming the Peace – The Hidden Costs of the Site C Dam.

In December 2017, the provincial government, in a decision that shocked many British Columbians, announced they would continue with the construction of Site C. This decision was reached despite the looming, unanswered questions regarding the estimated costs and the dubious long-term, economic viability of the project.

We need the power, of that there’s no mistake – unless you ignore the urgency of the climate crisis. We can find power elsewhere and we can do it without sacrificing nature and wildlife, without sacrificing farmland and without sacrificing the territorial right and cultural wealth of First Nations, writes author Holm.

Damming the Peace – The Hidden Costs of the Site C Dam, includes Holm’s own critical observations and presents the independent voices of citizen experts who, after extensive research, describe the far-reaching impacts of the dam.

The book exposes potential links to the project that range from Site C’s role in Canada’s climate change strategy, natural gas extraction, and fracking, to continental water sharing and the role large projects play in the corruption of governments.

The on-going opposition by landowners, legal challenges by First Nations, cost over-runs and unstable geological conditions all indicate that the future of BC’s most expensive infrastructure project is, and should be, in question.

Site C is an economic white elephant … we do not need the Site C dam. It is time to close the project down, writes Holm in Damming the Peace. To continue will have devastating, irreversible consequences for all of us.

Prominent water activist and Honourary Chair of the Council of Canadians, Maude Barlow says of the book, “The fight to stop Site C is not over. Damming the Peace is our roadmap.”

Holm’s book tour to the Comox Valley, sponsored by the CV Council of Canadians will take place Wed., July 11, at 7:00 pm in the Rotary Hall, Filberg Centre, 411 Anderton Ave, Courtenay. Holm is donating proceeds from the sale of Damming the Peace to the Nun Wa Dee Stewardship Society to support the legal costs of the Prophet River and West Moberly First Nations.

She will be available to sign copies of her book before and after the event. Doors open 6:30 pm.

Wendy Holm is a professional agrologist (retired), an award-winning national columnist, a double Queen’s medalist, a distinguished UBC alumna, past president of the B.C. Institute of Agrologists and B.C. Agrologist of the Year in 2000. She provided expert testimony before the Joint Federal Provincial Panel on the agricultural impact of the Site C project.

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.

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.

Rally Postponed

In 2015, Blueberry River First Nation (BRFN) commenced a significant treaty infringement claim against the Province of BC. BRFN claims that the Province is in breach of its obligation under Treaty 8, due to the cumulative impacts of development in BRFN’s traditional territory.

The trial in BC Supreme Court that was scheduled to begin on March 26 has been postponed to April 9.

The rally that was planned at the Courtenay Courthouse on March 26 has been postponed. Further information soon.