LETTER: Dec. 20 storm proves Port Alberni’s watershed needs protection

I received an email from my workplace in Nanaimo that said: “DO NOT USE WATER”…

To the Editor,

It’s time the City of Port Alberni expand its boundaries to include our entire municipal watershed and put bylaws in place to end all logging therein. Vancouver and Victoria bought and protected their watersheds decades ago. We can’t afford to buy ours so we must control it. The Dec. 20 storm reminded me again why it is so imperative.

Ask any Alberni Valley resident and they’ll tell you a contributing factor to all those downed trees and power lines was the clear cuts behind them. It’s another manifestation of our antiquated forest policy.

But the most dramatic impact was to Nanaimo’s $72-million water filtration plant installed in 2013 after years of turbidity problems in their watershed. (Comox Valley is building a $110 million plant for the same reason.)

I received an email from my workplace in Nanaimo that said: “DO NOT USE WATER”. The plant was “unable to sustain water production”.

Here I thought fresh water was produced by evaporation and rainfall, not machines. In Nanaimo and Comox we’ve allowed all the natural filtration ‘machines’ to be cut down so we pay to filter it instead.

Port Alberni is still lucky, when China Creek gets muddy we can switch to Bainbridge Lake to avoid a boil water advisory. How long is that luck going to last? When will Island Health say no, build a filtration plant? What will our bill be, $50 million plus operations?

Yes, it goes against the Private Managed Forest Lands Act. Cities are forbidden from enacting bylaws that would limit forest activity on private lands. Yes, we may have to challenge the act at our cost.

But what’s the choice? Free filtration in perpetuity or millions of dollars and hope naively the storms don’t come back and knock out the power to the machines “producing” our water?

Chris Alemany,

Port Alberni

Just Posted

Port Alberni’s bylaw department shifts from reactive to proactive

8.5 times more files being completed by bylaw officers

Port Alberni’s West Coast Rangers hold rendezvous

Three-day event featured historical re-enactment

Port Alberni Port Authority talks logistics for cruise ship visit

Some restrictions for pedestrians, boaters will be in place

Port Alberni’s ‘Army of Problem Solvers’ to the rescue

Facebook group gathers people who just want to help their neighbours

Hurricane Katrina inspires Alberni author’s new novel

Jacqueline Swann brings message of climate change to life with story of fictional journalist

New airline regulations bring compensation for tarmac delays, over-bookings

Some of the new regulations will roll out in July, while others are expected for December.

Pacific Rim National Park Reserve investigating after sea lion found shot in the head

Animal is believed to have been killed somewhere between Ucluelet and Tofino

B.C. port workers set to strike on Monday in Vancouver

A strike at two container terminals would affect Canadian trade to Asia

Cyclists can choose round trip from Comox to Nanaimo, or Alberni-Nanaimo-Comox

The Boomer’s Legacy British Columbia Bike Ride is back. In a couple… Continue reading

Volunteers already rescuing fry from drying creekbeds around Cowichan Lake

It’s early but already salmon fry are being left high and dry

Prepare yourself for tick season, says Island Health official

2017 saw three reported cases of Lyme disease

So, they found ‘Dave from Vancouver Island’

Dave Tryon, now 72 and living in North Delta, will reunite with long-ago travelling friends in Monterrey, Calif.

Scheer says it would take Conservatives five years to balance budget

Scheeraccused the Liberal government of spending $79.5 billion of previously unbudgeted funds

Most Read