Water All-Candidates Forum

In our Valley, water issues are often in the news. Whether it is extreme rain and tides, boiling our drinking water, or dealing with summer shortages, more and more we find that water is something we need to pay attention to.

This is why several local groups have invited our provincial political candidates to an all-candidates forum focused on water. The public is invited to attend and hear what our potential representatives have to say regarding their plans to address water-related challenges in the Valley and province-wide. Attendees will also have the opportunity to ask questions.

The Water All-Candidates Forum will take place on May 2nd from 7:00 pm- 9:00 p.m at the Stan Hagen Theatre at North Island College.

Candidates confirmed to attend are Ronna-Rae Leonard from the BC NDP, Ernie Sellentin of the BC Green Party and Leah McCulloch of the BC Conservative Party. With the provincial election happening on May 9th, this will be the last chance to attend an all-candidates forum.

The event will encourage respectful dialogue. The moderator will be Bob Wells, a City of Courtenay Councillor who also serves on the Comox Valley Regional District Water Services Committee and the Drinking Watershed Advisory Group.

If specific questions are not answered during the main event, the candidates will be available subsequently to chat.

For more information contact info@cvconservationstrategy.org

This event is on Facebook and we welcome you to share it with your Facebook friends.

On behalf of the Comox Valley Conservation Partnership, Watershed Watch Salmon Society, the Canadian Freshwater Alliance, Comox Valley Chapter of the Council of Canadians, and The Watershed Sentinel Magazine


Water: A Public Forum with Maude Barlow

boiling point

Water is one of the most important issues facing our times. Maude Barlow, Chairperson of the Council of Canadians, passionate water rights activist and award winning author, will be in B.C. to discuss her latest book, Boiling Point: Government Neglect, Corporate Abuse, and Canada’s Water Crisis. Speaking in Courtenay on April 6 at the Filberg Centre, she is joined by Vancouver Island water advocates, David Stapley and Coree Tull who will highlight the issues we face here in the Comox Valley and in our province.

This public forum is extremely relevant as we head into the May 9 provincial election. Topics of discussion will include Site C dam, the BC Water Sustainability Act, watershed health, Kinder Morgan pipeline, bottled water takings, fracking and the repercussions of international trade agreements including NAFTA.

Author of 18 books, proud recipient of 14 honorary doctorates, Barlow served as Senior Advisor on Water to the United Nations General Assembly and was a key leader in the campaign to have water recognized as a human right by the United Nations.

“Water is life, and this is what drives me every day,” says Coree Tull, Organizing Director for Freshwater Alliance and second guest presenter at the evening’s Public Forum. “It’s time for world class protection of waters in BC.”

“Right now, with the provincial election less than 2 months away there is a unique and important opportunity for British Columbians to shift the public discourse about freshwater protection and pressure the Government to add stronger regulations to the Water Sustainability Act (WSA),” states Tull.

Joining the panel is well-known local water advocate David Stapley, Program Manager with the Comox Valley Conservation Partnership. He will speak to watershed conditions, local boil water advisories, and approaches to address source drinking water quality and quantity issues for the Comox Lake Watershed.

The evening will open with the Kumugwe Dancers and close with Tina Filippino, song leader of Letz Sing. Copies of Boiling Point will be for sale and The Comox Valley Council of Canadians are hosting a special book signing opportunity with Barlow.

One of the world’s foremost water activists, Barlow has been on the front lines of the world’s water sustainability crisis for the past 20 years. On April 6 from 7-9 pm in the Conference Hall of Courtenay’s Florence Filberg Centre, she brings her wealth of experience and expertise to the Comox Valley, inviting us to take action to build a water-secure future that encompasses water restoration, conservation and protection.

The Council of Canadians, co-sponsoring the event with Freshwater Alliance, CV Conservation Partnership and CV Global Awareness Network welcomes you to join Barlow in what promises to be a compelling Public Forum.


Stop Site C

site-cA new poll conducted by Insights West, sponsored by readers of DeSmog Canada, found that 73 per cent of British Columbians support sending the Site C dam for an independent review of both costs and demand, as recommended by the Joint Review Panel in its 2014 report.

Seven in 10 respondents supported pausing construction of Site C to investigate alternatives to meet future power demand.  http://www.desmog.ca/2016/11/16/video-70-british-columbians-support-pausing-site-c-dam-construction-poll

It’s not too late to stop this project!  Use the letter writing points and contact info in the link below to tell the BC and the federal government to put Site C on pause. site-c

LFG Townhall Video

Liquefied Fracked Gas: Risky Economic and Ecological Business. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RE2ND6CTIek&feature=youtu.be

lng-tankerA video of the townhall event with Emma Lui, national water campaigner for the Council of Canadians and Ben Parfitt, policy analyst for Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.

The BC government has made extravagant claims about the benefits to British Columbians regarding LNG development – but were they just election promises? Realistically, how many jobs will be created? The lower global prices, an increased supply of natural gas on the market, and a tax and royalty regime that has been roundly criticized for favouring industry, will there be any significant economic benefits for British Columbians? What will the consequences be for our environment and for Canada’s climate change commitments? How does the Site C dam fit into the picture? What are the effects of fracking on our fresh water supplies?

Thanks to Kayla McDonald Video Productions and Chris Smith of Heavyset Media for donating their time, equipment and expertise to the Comox Valley Council of Canadians in the making of this video.

LFG Townhall Update

lfg-768x512The federal Liberal government’s recent approval of the massive Pacific Northwest LNG project poses a grave threat to one of the most important wild salmon habitats in Canada.

Aboriginal groups and SkeenaWild are preparing to launch a series of legal actions against the construction of this liquefaction facility off the Flora Bank where 80-90% of Skeena’s salmon and steelhead have their nurseries.

SkeenaWild and the Skeena Corridor Nations, a powerful group of hereditary leaders from Gitanyow, Lax Kw’alaams, Wet’suwet’en, Gitxsan, Takla, Lake Babine and Haida, are exploring all political and legal options to obtain long-term protection of the Skeena River estuary and the salmon run that forms the economic, social and cultural foundation of life in the area. Continue reading

Liquefied Fracked Gas: Risky Economic and Ecological Business

The recent approval of the massive Pacific Northwest LNG project has intensified debate about BC’s economic and environmental future.

The BC government has made extravagant claims about the benefits to British Columbians regarding LNG development – but were they just election promises?

Realistically, how many jobs will be created?

The lower global prices, an increased supply of natural gas on the market, and a tax and royalty regime that has been roundly criticized for favouring industry, will there be any significant economic benefits for British Columbians?

What will the consequences be for our environment and for Canada’s climate change commitments?

How does the Site C dam fit into the picture?

What are the effects of fracking on our fresh water supplies?

These are some of the questions that will be answered at the Comox Valley Council of Canadians town hall, Liquefied Fracked Gas: Risky Economic and Ecological Business, Thursday, October 27, 7 pm in the Rotary Room of the Florence Filberg Centre. Continue reading

Protect Trees in Courtenay

Good news: the city of Courtenay has released its new tree bylaw and the public opinion survey is now online at www.courtenay.ca/trees. The survey takes about 10 minutes. Please help ensure that as many people as possible complete the survey before the deadline, June 30. Results will be used by city staff and council to finalize the bylaw.

This survey is our opportunity to demand real protection for Courtenay’s remaining forested areas from sprawl and development – while sending the city the baseline data it needs to see that most residents value trees, enjoy the many benefits of green infrastructure, and expect immediate action to protect and grow trees.

The proposed tree bylaw has received input from the development and conservation communities – now we must weigh in. The new bylaw is an improvement but there are also weaknesses we must address in our feedback. The biggest improvement is that the bylaw proposes to now cover all trees, not just certain areas within the city.

urban forestBut as it currently stands, the proposed bylaw fails to protect trees on “greenfield” or undeveloped natural lots. We need to stand up for better greenfield protection. These sites can support hundreds of trees and contain much of what’s left of Courtenay’s urban forest, including our maturing second growth forests, which sequester the most carbon, provide the most green services and support the most biodiversity. The current drawbacks of the new tree bylaw:
• Allows loss of up to 1/3 (30%) of Courtenay’s remaining urban forest if re-zoned
• Favours developers who want to convert large parcels of forested lands

Background info is available with the survey on the city’s webpage. Hard copies of the survey are also available at City Hall. Respondents can win a prize (slow-release tree watering bag for summer) if you submit contact info with your survey.

The city of Courtenay will hold another public open house June 21, 12 -2pm at Courtenay Public Library.

Open letter to Liberal Cabinet on recent push to support tar sands pipelines

This morning Prime Minister Trudeau and Liberal Cabinet members received an open letter endorsed by over 40 Canadian organizations representing hundreds of thousands of people, calling on them to reject the pressure to champion tar sands, or oil sands, pipelines.

Most notably, this pressure has come from both Alberta Premier Rachel Notley and former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney.

The open letter challenges key myths being used to support the false argument that more pipelines will fix Alberta’s economic woes and emphasizes the very serious risks presented by the projects and the viable alternatives we have.

Click here to read the whole letter and list of endorsers, including the Comox Valley Chapter.


Celebrate Water!

Across the country, Canadians agree that freshwater is by far our most important natural rev wwd celebrate jpresource. From clean drinking water and the flows that make agriculture, our forests, tourism, industry and hydroelectricity possible, to the power of water to connect the dots between land use and human     health, it is easily our most valuable resource.

On Saturday, March 19, join a free community celebration of water in honour of international World Water Day and our local watersheds.

Hosted by the Comox Valley chapter of the Council of Canadians, the event will feature music and presentations by some important local voices behind water sustainability. Continue reading

BC’s Climate Leadership Plan Public Consultation

BC’s Climate Leadership Team has put forward 32 recommendations, designed to help the province reduce carbon pollution while maintaining a strong economy.
Key recommendations include:
• Increasing B.C.’s carbon tax by $10 per tonne per year starting in 2018 (and using the incremental revenue to lower the PST from 7% to 6%, protect low-income households and implement measures to maintain the competitiveness of emissions-intensive, trade-exposed industry);
• Cutting methane emissions from the natural-gas sector by 40% within five years;
• Committing to 100% renewable energy on the electricity grid by 2025 (except where fossil fuels are required for backup);
• Requiring new buildings to be so energy-efficient that they would be capable of meeting most of their annual energy needs with onsite renewable energy within the next 10 years (and starting in 2016 for new public buildings);
• Requiring an increasing percentage (rising to 30% by 2030) of light-duty vehicles sold in the province to be zero-emission vehicles;
• Reviewing the Climate Leadership Plan every five years.
At a minimum, a strong Climate Leadership Plan must include a commitment to implement all of the Climate Leadership Team’s recommendations. According to the team, the government must adopt the entire package of recommendations to put B.C. on a “credible pathway” to meeting its legislated 2050 emissions target.
Show your support for a strong Climate Leadership Plan and the economic and environmental opportunities it would provide for the province.
Read the Consultation Guide and submit your comments by March 25. Write a letter to the editor and spread the word on social media. This is a conversation we should all be involved in.
For further background information, check out the Pembina Institute’s webinar series.
The first two webinars are available to view ( and there’s still time to register for the last two: Carbon Tax: Developer and local government perspectives and Maintaining a strong economy while moving ahead with climate policy.