Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Concerted opposition to Fairmont Hotsprings East Kootenay development

One Community's Firm 'No' to Tourist Boom

Looking across Columbia Lake to Lot 48, the small cleared section in the distance. Photo A. Bergles.

On Columbia Lake, Fairmont Hot Springs Resort has big plans - and creative opponents.
By Adrian Bergles. Published: August 29, 2006

At the headwaters of the mighty Columbia River, a battle is being waged over some of the last untouched land in the area.

Read all about it.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Running out of water

A quarter of us, many in rural areas but many more in the suburbs of the Lower Mainland, on Vancouver Island, in the Okanagan and elsewhere, depend on wells for tap water. Business and industries in those areas do the same. With each passing year, we're pumping more from the buried lakes and slow-moving underground streams known as aquifers.
So says Chris Wood in Pumping Blind and I think we'd better pay attention. If you use a well, how has it performed over time? Do you know the level of your water table? Is it rising, falling, staying the same? As for the big picture - how many wells in this province pumping how much water? etc. - it seems that nobody knows.

It's not a pleasant picture but you might as well find out about it now. It will only be worse if you wait. You will not be alone: there are many reader comments at the end of the article. If you feel so inclined, some back here and let me know (via the Comments section below) what you think about it all.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Plan to build pipeline from Alberta oilsands to BC Port of Kitimat

Plans are in the works for an oil pipeline from the Alberta oilsands to the BC port of Kitimat. To many this sounds wonderful: jobs for locals, profits for the companies involved and taxes for the BC and Alberta governments. To many, however, the nature and scope of the project is a disaster - in process and in consequence.
If the plan goes ahead, the Gateway pipeline will be the largest petroleum pipeline project undertaken in North America in more than 50 years; at a cost of over $4 billion, it will be among the largest private infrastructure investments in B.C. history. Planned to begin construction in 2008, . . . that pipeline will employ 5000 full-time workers for two years, generating $25 million in taxes each year between B.C. and Alberta. In B.C. alone, the underground pipeline will be engineered to cross at least 1000 streams, rivers and lakes, each necessitating a separate file by Transport Canada.
Read: Massive Gateway project faces serious legal obstacles. A special report.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Alarm for the northern spotted owl

Alarm bells are ringing loudly as the northern spotted owl population drops to near extinction levels. According to Larry Pynn in the Vancouver Sun:

The number of known mating pairs of Canada's rarest bird, the northern spotted owl, has dropped to three from six and the overall population to 17 from 22 since last year, says the Sierra Legal Defence Fund.

The organization is urging the B.C. government to act immediately to save the endangered species. "If 17 birds doesn't constitute an imminent threat to survival, nothing does," staff lawyer Devon Page said in an interview.

"If they don't step in to save the spotted owl, they won't step in to save any species."

Friday, August 11, 2006

Native activists protect the North-west's natural heritage

In the 1950s, Dr. Edward Teller ("Father of the H-Bomb") championed a scheme to use nuclear weapons to carve out a harbor in Arctic Alaska. Successful resistance to "Project Chariot" united native villages.
says Joel Connelly in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer

The North-west's beauty is continually under threat. Under that beauty lies much mineral wealth and on it many trees. Without outspoken environmentalists and an increasingly activist native population, we would be left with a lot less of that natural beauty than we have today. You can imagine the scorn that was heaped by its protagonists on those who opposed using a nuclear bomb to change the Alaska coastline. We hear that scorn today directed at "tree huggers" etc. Yet it often takes that kind of activism to put the brakes on the land and resource hunger/greed.

and, again from Connelly:

In British Columbia, native leaders in ceremonial robes blocked logging trucks on Lyell Island in the Queen Charlottes. The protest helped create Canada's Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve.

According to Connelly, without the public exposure of the 2010 Olympics, we might be without most of the South Chilcotin Provincial park.
Vancouver newspapers love to depict B.C. environmentalists as strident and unreasonable, while putting industry's plans in the friendliest focus. With natives, however, the sneering stops.