COLUMN: The importance of being proactive

Federal government needs to face threat of aquatic invasive freshwater mussels

Recently the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard announced that a project would be undertaken on the Fraser River to remove an abandoned 75-year-old, nearly 200-foot-long, former transport vessel.

The reason for the removal is that “there are imminent risks of pollution threat, hull corrosion, possible sinking and fire.”

The cost of this project is estimated to be $3.3 million, that may or may not be recoverable from the vessels owners, assuming they can be identified.

That the federal government is taking action against derelict and abandoned vessels will certainly be welcome news in many areas that have experienced firsthand the adverse environmental impact of this problem.

My issue is not with this project itself, but rather the importance of being proactive.

Here in the Okanagan, we face the very serious threat of aquatic invasive freshwater mussels.

READ ALSO: COLUMN: A tale of two cabinet ministers

READ ALSO: COLUMN: Considering Canada’s relationship with China

These mussels can clog water intakes causing serious damage to irrigation infrastructure as well as domestic and civic water systems.

Further, as an invasive species, an infestation of these mussels can also create serious adverse impacts on local fish habitat such as the pacific salmon, and other freshwater ecosystems.

If an infestation did occur in Okanagan Lake, considering the connected Okanagan river drainage system as well as other surrounding freshwater lakes, the threat of other regions being seriously impacted through contamination would be significant and likely.

The Okanagan Basin Water Board predicts that the costs of managing an infestation are estimated to be $42 million per year in the Okanagan Valley alone.

These would be costs forced onto local taxpayers, pending other financial support from the provincial and federal government.

It is easy to understand why it makes far more sense to be proactive in this situation, provide additional resources now, to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species, than to spend significantly more funds addressing an infestation after the fact.

Despite this reality, the federal Liberal government continues to largely ignore this threat creating a situation that I believe all citizens of the Okanagan should find unacceptable.

If this government can prioritize $12 million to help Loblaws purchase new refrigerators, surely it can also prioritize the roughly $2 million in annual funding requested from the Okanagan Basin Water Board to protect the interior freshwater lakes of the Okanagan and British Columbia.

Do you agree?

Dan Albas is the Member of Parliament for the riding of Central Okanagan Similkameen Nicola. This riding includes the communities of Kelowna, West Kelowna, Peachland, Summerland, Keremeos, Princeton, Merritt and Logan Lake.

To report a typo, email:
news@summerlandreview.com
.



news@summerlandreview.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

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

Just Posted

Roots and Blues online festival live tonight on Black Press Media

Tune in to Black Press Media to watch the festival live Aug. 14, 15 and 16

Okanagan COVID-19 case count growth slows

BCCDC data shows a stark contrast between Okanagan-specific numbers released in July and August

Okanagan Correctional Centre outbreak due to training session: Interior Health

Interior Health said in a statement the staff members were at an off-site training session

Morning Start: A Texas law allows astronauts to vote from space

Your morning start for Friday, August 14, 2020

Piano set up in Penticton downtown

Initiative an effort to bring music and creativity to the streets

‘Don’t kill my mom’: Ryan Reynolds calls on young British Columbians to be COVID-smart

‘Deadpool’ celebrity responds to premier’s call for social influence support

Kelowna animal rights activist speaks out amid charges in 2019 Abbotsford hog-farm protest

Amy Soranno, along with three other activists, will appear in court on Sept. 3

Shuswap dragon boaters honour teammate’s cancer-fighting accomplishments

Friends Abreast team provides special recognition outside Salmon Arm hospital

‘She’s my baby’: Lake Country man searches for missing parrot

The Senegal parrot escaped from her cage Wednesday evening in the Carr’s Landing area

Expected fall peak of COVID-19 in Canada could overwhelm health systems: Tam

National modelling projections released Friday show an expected peak in cases this fall

Hundreds of sea lions to be killed on Columbia River in effort to save endangered fish

Nearly 22,000 comments received during public review were opposed, fewer than 200 were for

B.C.’s fuel suppliers to publish prices to provide accountability: minister

Bruce Ralston says move will ensure industry publicly accountable for unexplained prices increases

North Okanagan-Shuswap school district answers return-to-class questions

School District 83 shares current information ahead of its full safety plan

Okanagan connection to Canada’s favourite TV dog

There’s a voice, that keeps on calling me. Down the road, that’s… Continue reading

Most Read