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

Flooding water at West Kelowna Tim Hortons closes lane on Highway 97

This story has been updated with more accurate information. Water flooding from… Continue reading

Albas to speak at Summerland Chamber luncheon

Event will be held at Summerland Arena Banquet Room on Tuesday, Feb. 11

Kelowna grandmother scammed of $14,000 in phone scam

RCMP warn of Grandparent Scam in the Okanagan after December incident

Construction activity in RDOS tops $48 million

Total of 527 building permits issued within Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen in 2019

Local businesses partner to support SOWINS

The Community Spoons invites people to help make soups the first Monday of the month

VIDEO: Mass coronavirus quarantines seen in China won’t happen in Canada, authorities say

‘If a case comes here, and it is probably … it will still be business as normal’

Campfires no longer permitted at Kelowna scout camp

City of Kelowna said they rejected Camp Dunlop’s fire permit due to stricter bylaws

Province’s oldest practising lawyer shares advice at her 100th birthday party

Firefighters bring Constance Isherwood a cake with 100 birthday candles

Okanagan team leads animal rescue efforts in Australia

Brad Pattison’s team arrived in Sydney on Monday

Vernon woman suing McDonald’s for spilled coffee

Woman seeking nearly $10K, says employee failed to put lid on properly

Diners’ health tax not catching on in B.C., restaurant group says

Small businesses look for options to cover employer health tax

Avalanche danger closes Highway 1 near Chase

The highway is closed in both directions east of Chase

B.C. comic wins judgment after club owner slaps cellphone out of his hands

Incident happened last summer when Garrett Clark was performing in Abbotsford

Melted snow uncovers problematic potholes in Vernon

Temperature swings, precipitation behind cracked pavement, city says

Most Read