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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Port Alberni RCMP searching for missing man

Jeff Buck was last seen June 25, 2020

B.C. Supreme Court dismisses claim against Island Corridor Foundation

Snaw-Naw-As (Nanoose) First Nation was seeking return of reserve land as railway sits unused

QUINN’S QUIPS: Ramsay family of Port Alberni takes a grad trip of a lifetime

Family got caught in Europe as countries were closing their borders due to COVID-19

ARTS AROUND: Creative carvings on display at Rollin Art Centre

July’s exhibit will feature artists Cecil Dawson, Allen Halverson, Nigel Atkin and others

WATCH: Vintage trucks parade through Port Alberni

Industrial Heritage Society volunteers celebrate Canada Day with a quiet cruise through town

All community COVID-19 outbreaks declared over in B.C.

Abbotsford manufacturer cleared by Dr. Bonnie Henry

B.C. First Nations vow to keep fighting after Trans Mountain pipeline appeal denied

Squamish Nation, Tsleil-Waututh Nation and Coldwater Indian Band made the application

‘Queue jumpers’ not welcome in B.C. as COVID-19 U.S. cases rise: Horgan

Premier Horgan said he’s heard concerns that Americans have stopped at Vancouver hotels instead of heading to their destination

US officer resigns after photos, connected to death of black man in 2019, surface

Elijah McClain died, last summer, after police placed him in a chokehold

Black worker files discrimination complaint against Facebook

Oscar Veneszee, Jr. has worked as an operations program manager at Facebook since 2017

Nestle Canada selling bottled water business to local family-owned company

The Pure Life bottled water business is being sold to Ice River Springs

Major B.C. salmon farm tests new containment system to curb sea lice infestations

System “essentially eliminates” contact between wild and farmed fish stocks, says Cermaq

Major B.C. salmon farm tests new containment system to curb sea lice infestations

System “essentially eliminates” contact between wild and farmed fish stocks, says Cermaq

Most Read