Letter – Why weren’t there meetings?

Letter to the editor from the May 14, 2014 Grand Forks Gazette newspaper.

Editor, The Gazette:An open letter to mayor and councilIs the decision to install approximately 2,000 water meters by you our council going to be another expensive fiasco for our cash-strapped city?Why have we NEVER had any serious and participatory open house meetings to explore ways to conserve water? Why has there been NO real effort for education on water conservation—despite what you keep saying? I believe our community could come together and even the most hard-nosed offenders would come on board if an effective approach to water conservation was implemented. And it need not be water meters at a cost of $1.3 million. There are examples out there where education has resulted in considerable savings in water usage… was this avenue ever looked at? NO!Why were the taxpayers never invited to express our concerns regarding water meters? Was this a deliberate attempt to shut out public input? Why was it that you made this decision without public input and THEN asked for feedback? Shouldn’t the horse come before the cart? Shouldn’t democracy be inclusive and participatory? And with the strong public outcry why are you so strongly resisting taking a step back and reconsidering?Because of this oversight, here are issues that were never considered:• Carbon footprint of producing— mining, manufacture, shipping and installing of meters,replacing and disposing of these meters. And how much of our precious water resource will continue going into that? Can we not be better global citizens by rejecting this pattern of consumption? Water conservation does not exist as an isolated entity and does not happen by ignoring the bigger conservation picture: global sustainability.• Unknown harm potential—radiation exposure. Considerable data exits that this is a real danger to human health. Is the city in future facing unforeseen lawsuits when effects of suchradiation is finally recognized? It took many years before this became obvious regarding tobacco use.• Very minimal actual reduction in water usage is actually realized when looking at the bigpicture. Residential water use makes up only 57 per cent of total water usage. Reducing our usage by 10 per cent through water meters would save us a mere 5.7 per cent of total water consumption.We could do much better through education and voluntary conservation—less the $1.3 millionprice tag.• Penalizing those who wish to grow a garden (jeopardizing community sustainability). If youinstitute exceptions there is no guarantee that future councils will respect this.• Setting in place the infrastructure for future privatization of our water services (this is notlikely your intention at this time). But when infrastructure costs become overwhelming init will be so much easier to hand these costs over to private interests with the water meters already in place, and, of course, water costs will be passed on to us—the consumers.In fact this is already happening within B.C. with waste disposal and recycling.And no, Maude Barlow does not recommend water meters. In fact she states that advisors with a corporate bias are responsible for steering communities in this direction.Eva Anthony,Grand Forks

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