Three-pronged approach to environmental issues

The environmental committee

Coun. Chris Moslin says there are some practical things that the City of Grand Forks can do to help the new Environment committee.

The committee is a three-pronged approach to the environment, with subcommittees covering air quality, water sustainability and carbon neutrality.

Moslin, who chairs the air quality subcommittee, said that the city has budgeted for a webcam and a weather station on the top of Observation Mountain,

“We’re hoping that this will be an addition that’s hosted by the city on top of city hall,” Moslin said and he hopes that this station will become accredited so that it can participate in future scientific studies on air quality.

He would also like the environment

committee to go into the long-term and hopes that it has longevity.

On water sustainability, guest speaker John Slater, MLA for Boundary-Similkameen, said that farmers will be most affected by changes to the water act so he wants to make sure that they get everything right the first time.

“It’s the people on the ground, in the community that are going to make the difference on this water issue,” Slater said.

Slater, who chaired the Okanagan Basin Water Board for eight years, says that the Kettle River is a critical river, and in danger, as shown by its endangered status.

He said that the committee should analyze the water conservation in the Okanagan.

“The plan has to be for generations, not just for the next few years,” he said.

Slater also talked about trying to retain spring freshet by way of dams on the Kettle River that could hold water back into drought periods.

“If we have a real bad drought, the water’s gone by the end of June,” he said. “If they wouldn’t have built those reservoirs (in the Okanagan), in 2003; Okanagan River would have dried up.”

Slater says that the reservoirs could protect the ranchers and farmers in the event of a drought.

Slater also brought up the issue that Big White was currently not on board the committee and given its influence on the water flowing through the Boundary area should be.

Coun. Cher Wyers, chair of the water subcommittee, said that on issues of water, we all have to learn how to share that water, because there is only so much of it to go around.

Coun. Gene Robert, who is chair of the carbon neutrality subcommittee, said that focusing on modeling the right behaviour is first and foremost on the list of things his subcommittee would like to do.

“This subcommittee really has that charge,” Robert said.

“The city wants the subcommittee to pick up the challenge, to take this information back to the community and change the community.”

Robert hopes that people will convince their neighbours to make a change as well.

The next committee meeting will be on Friday, Feb. 25 at 11 a.m. at the RDKB offices and the public is welcome.