Province’s debris response plan inadequate: MLA Coons

  • May. 18, 2012 2:00 p.m.

The slow response of the provincial government to the coming debris from the tsunami in Japan was the focus of several questions last week in the Legislature by MLA Gary Coons. “To the minister; when is this Liberal government finally going to step in and work with local governments and First Nations to put forward a real plan to deal with the growing tsunami debris on our shores,” Mr. Coons asked Environment Minister Terry Lake on May 16. Mr. Lake said the province has formed a joint advisory committee with the federal government and is also working with local governments and First Nations, as well as with the US.”There is no doubt this will pose a challenge for all of us living on the west coast. But we are actively planning: we are working with volunteer groups,” Mr. Lake said. He also noted that anyone who finds tsunami debris can go to the ministry’s web page, and he also said the province will be ready when the majority of the debris arrives here in 2013. Mr. Coons then noted that it appears the coordinating committee has failed to do any coordinating so far, since its terms of reference and organization structure had not been decided on in mid-March. “On Haida Gwaii last night, Masset and Old Massett held a joint council meeting, Ken Rae, chief councillor of Old Massett, asked why the province still hasn’t provided any direction,” Mr. Coons told the legislature, then asking the minister if he will get on the phone and start coordinating. “Despite what the member may believe, we are coordinating these efforts,” Mr. Lake replied, “we are working very closely with all the members of our team, and we do realize that this will take a huge effort on the part of government and on the part of volunteers up and down the coast. But the sky is definitely not falling. We have time to prepare responsibly and properly,” Mr. Lake said.

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