The elected leader of a remote First Nation in B.C. which has been under a boil-water order for 18 years says he’s confident his community will eventually find a solution to its drinking water woes — regardless of which party is elected federally this year. Chief Jimmy Lulua’s comments to the Star came a day after Canada’s new Indigenous Services minister boasted Ottawa has made “progress” on the First Nations drinking water crisis to mark World Water Day on Friday.
“Far too often, governments in Canada have demonstrated that they place little value on the health and well-being of Indigenous peoples and the revitalization of their cultures and traditions,” Tara Scurr, business and human rights campaigner with Amnesty International Canada, said in a statement Thursday.
The construction of a modest road into a small community wouldn't usually get a full ground-breaking photo op, complete with gold-coloured shovels and government officials. But for the Semiahmoo First Nation, the road work is just the first step toward new water infrastructure that will end the community's 15-year permanent boil water advisory. "I'm waiting for a day to be able to turn on a tap and drink a glass of water," said Harley Chappell, Semiahmoo's elected chief. "That's the goal."
A handheld ‘tricorder’ that can test for biological contamination in real-time has been the dream of science fiction fans for decades. And UBC Okanagan engineers say the technology is closer to science fact than ever before. Using a small and inexpensive biosensor, researchers in the School of Engineering have developed a novel low-cost technique that quickly and accurately detects cryptosporidium contamination in water samples.
B.C.'s Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy is announcing new rules for farmers, intended to protect water sources and "provide more clarity for the agricultural sector." According to the ministry, the rules will protect groundwater with proper manure and nutrient storage, ban direct discharges, allow increased monitoring in high-risk areas, and require record keeping.
Union Bay resident Kathy Calder wants to know why she can't drink her tap water. Her community, in the Comox Valley on Vancouver Island, has been on a boil water advisory for more than a month. Calder was looking forward to asking some questions at Thursday night's Union Bay Improvement District [UBID] public meeting. However, a letter posted to the district's website Jan. 10 says residents are banned from attending the public meeting, which consists of elected officials.
The protesters in northern British Columbia had camped out for days amid bitter cold and deep snow, manning a checkpoint to prevent construction vehicles from entering the territory of the Wet’suwet’en nation. Their demonstrations, part of a fight against a multibillion-dollar natural gas pipeline, galvanized supporters across the country and at his town hall meeting, the prime minister was forced to content with a barrage of angry questions.
A Vancouver Island MP is hoping the federal government will pass his private member's motion that would create legislation to keep plastic pollution out of Canadian waters. "People are counting on elected officials and their leaders to ... demonstrate their commitment to future generations [by] protecting our environment and ensuring that we don't leave them a pile of garbage for them to clean up," said Gord Johns, MP for Courtenay-Alberni.
The governments of Canada and British Columbia recognize how important investing in modern reliable water services is to building healthy sustainable communities. Today, Marco Mendicino, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, on behalf of the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, and Ronna Rae Leonard, Member of Legislative Assembly for Courtenay–Comox, on behalf of the Honourable Selina Robinson, B.C. Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, announced more than $62.8 million in federal-provincial funding for a new drinking water treatment plant in the Comox Valley Regional District (CVRD).
Gwenn Flowers, a glaciologist, trudges back and forth across a vast glacier in southwest Yukon, pulling a radar device mounted on skis behind her. "We as Canadians are stewards of about a third of the world's mountain glaciers and ice caps, so this is our responsibility," Flowers says. The dramatic changes to the glaciers in the Yukon are an early warning of what climate change could mean for the rest of the planet, researchers say. And Flowers sees lots of reason for concern reflected in the state of the ice.
The vast majority of Kelowna City Council candidates support the further integration of water suppliers. The city recently amalgamated with the South East Kelowna Irrigation District but still only provides water to 50 per cent of residents. Irrigation districts in Glenmore-Ellison, Black Mountain and Rutland serve most of the rest of Kelowna (there are 26 small systems supplying about 1,300 residents). The city wants to bring all water under its umbrella and integrate all the systems.
The Coldwater Indian Band, which asserts traditional territories in south-central B.C., said the pipeline route passes an aquifer that is the sole supply of drinking water for its main reserve “This is a major victory for my community,” said Coldwater Chief Lee Spahan. “Thankfully, the court has stepped in where Canada has failed to protect and respect our rights and our water.”
Recently elected Xeni Gwet’in chief Jimmy Lulua doesn’t have running water in his own house. He brushes his teeth from a cup. It is a daily reminder of how precious water is to his people — but, he noted, “It’s not by choice.”
“We’ve never been high on the government’s priority list,” he said. “We live in a third world country in one of the richest countries in the world.”
Semiahmoo First Nation could have potable water – something they haven’t had in more than a decade – as early as next spring, after signing a pair of servicing agreements with the City of Surrey Monday. The agreements, signed at Surrey’s council meeting, also mean sanitary-sewer infrastructure and water for fire protection for the first time in the nation’s history.
Document intended to protect Whistler's biggest water supply. The Resort Municipality of Whistler (RMOW) is taking steps to protect the community's biggest water source. At its July 10 meeting, council endorsed the 21 Mile Creek Watershed Source Water Protection Plan (SWPP)—a document intended to mitigate risks and minimize exposure to unacceptable concentrations of contaminants in the water supply.
A ground-breaking ceremony was held in Kelowna today for a multi-million dollar project that will improve water quality in the city’s southeast district. The multi-year project involves separating agricultural and domestic systems in southeast Kelowna and providing a sustainable water supply for agriculture in South Mission. The federal government is providing $26.45 million while the provincial government is providing $17.457 million for the project through the Clean Water and Wastewater Fund. The City of Kelowna says its costs will be $19.1 million.