To the Editor,
Recently, the City of Nanaimo’s advisory committee on environmental sustainability requested two months to comment on the proposal of a ‘Blue Dot’ designation for Nanaimo. This designation, a David Suzuki Foundation initiative, would require council and staff decision making processes to consider our right to clean water, clean air, safe food, access to nature and our right to know when contaminants are being released into our environment. According to our city manager, changes need to be made to current city policies to enable this.
In considering water protection we know that mature forests are the best filtration systems for drinking water. Clear-cutting contributes to runoffs that are high in turbidity and require more chlorine.
Island Timberlands and TimberWest own the land which comprises the Jump Lake and South Forks watershed which supplies our drinking water. The provincial and federal governments have jurisdiction over forestry and mining activities. At any given time these lands could be repurposed or sold to foreign interests.
Shawnigan Lake residents are dealing with the threat to their drinking water that could possibly happen here. Clear-cut land was repurposed for mining. Granite extraction left a quarry which the land owners have a permit to fill with contaminated toxic soil 15 metres from a tributary to the lake which provides their water supply.
Victoria, Ladysmith and Vancouver own their watersheds. A Blue Dot designation for Nanaimo is a step in the right direction.