Premier invited to talk about tsunami debris

  • Jun. 1, 2012 11:00 a.m.

Skeena-Queen Charlotte regional district directors are so concerned about the potential impact of tsunami debris on the north coast that they are inviting Premier Christy Clark up to talk about solutions to the issue. Directors voted to write to the premier at their May 25 meeting in Prince Rupert, said administrator Joan Merrick, following a lengthy discussion about the debris. Styrofoam, chunks of insulation, buoys, fridges and other trash, believed to be from the March 2011 Japanese tsunami, has started washing up on islands beaches and more is expected in the coming months. So far, there is no clear answer to the question of what should be done with it. Ms Merrick said she has received several calls from islanders about the situation, including a group of Tlell residents who wanted to hold a clean-up. She told them they would have to pay to drop the beach garbage off at the island landfill like everyone else, but that the Tlell advisory committee might be able to cover the cost. The regional district cannot afford to offer free landfilling for tsunami debris, she said, although it may be able to make some room available at the landfill site for it. “There’s obvious concern but nobody has an answer about what to do,” she said. “If the debris keeps washing up it will have to be dealt with… Really, somebody in the higher levels of government has to take responsibility or assume authority.” Ms Merrick will be on the islands in June and plans to have a look at the beaches and the debris that has already been collected. One of the regional district directors suggested using seine boats to clean up the debris before it reaches shore. Directors also voted to put the issue on the agenda for the Union of BC Municipalities conference in September and to contact the coastal communities network about it.

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