In the mayor’s commentary from February 28, Mayor Fortin spoke of “encouraging young families to choose Peachland for its beauty and livability” while attempting to normalize boil water advisories and undrinkable Peachland water. The commentary demonstrates antiquated thinking and reeks of political whitewash.
As we live amidst the uncertainty of COVID-19, long term responses to the crisis are being cited that involve tackling habitat and biodiversity loss. Peachland does the opposite by allowing multiple abuses in the watershed: clearcutting, mining, cattle grazing and unmaintained logging roads.
If Peachland really wants young families to move here, an essential step is providing clean water along with appropriate habitat supporting local biodiversity.
The watershed is nature’s water purification system, more important than treatment and distribution. That’s why Vancouver, Victoria, Seattle, Portland and New York City do not allow logging in their watersheds.
Despite what Fortin suggests, our water problem is not just “spring runoff”. Nor is it simply Peachland’s water treatment plant. The problem originates in a watershed desecrated by multiple abuses.
First, forestry causes watershed damage affecting town water. Then, captured governments blame high water turbidity on the treatment plant and, with fanfare, build a new taxpayer funded plant for $24 million, $4,500 per Peachland citizen. Logging causes the problem but pays zero to remediate damages.
Despite assurances, even a new plant doesn’t end boil advisories. This is the tip of the financial and environmental iceberg. If we continue to allow multiple abuse in our watershed, we will face downstream consequences and costs.
When council was pressed into asking the province for a watershed logging moratorium, Minister Donaldson said logging would continue despite the request.
Political games are played because civic and provincial politicians are kneeling to the timber industry, sacrificing our natural water filtration resource and local biodiversity.
The human world will recover and prosper only if we take care of our little corners of the world.
Peachland could demonstrate leadership by standing up to industry and the province and insisting on protection of its watershed, endangered habitat and local biodiversity.
Nature is sending us a message with COVID-19. We should listen.
Michael Huber, Peachland