Tsunami debris concerns regional district

  • Jul. 23, 2012 5:00 a.m.

Tsunami debris continues to be a concern for the Skeena-Queen Charlotte regional district, with directors discussing the issue once again at their July meeting, held last Friday evening in Port Clements. Directors had previously voted to write to Prime Minister Stephen Harper and BC Premier Christy Clark with their concerns that the local landfill will likely not be able to deal with a large volume of debris, and about the lack of information about how local governments are supposed to deal with this issue. Ms Clark has now replied, saying that directors would soon be hearing from Environment Minister Terry Lake. By the time Ms Clark’s letter was received at the regional district office in Prince Rupert on July 9, Mr. Lake had come and gone to Haida Gwaii, where he toured the beaches and met with local government and Haida Nation representatives. Mr. Harper’s office also responded, thanking chair Barry Pages for his letter and saying that his comments have been sent on to Minister of Foreign Affairs John Baird. Administrator Joan Merrick told directors she continues to represent the regional district as part of a joint federal-provincial tsunami debris management committee, although the committee is still in the early stages of work on a plan. Meanwhile, islanders continue to pick up debris and trash on local shorelines, and wonder what will wash up next. “I walk our beaches every couple of days and there is so much crap,” Queen Charlotte representative Ellen Cranston said. “Basically, us on Haida Gwaii – we’re cleaning it up.” Masset councillor Barry Pages, chair of the regional district, said what we’ve seen on our beaches so far could be just the beginning. “It has the potential to be a major, major issue,” he said. “There is projected to be a much bigger debris field out there.” In other news:. Directors voted to approve a park lands policy that limits the regional district’s liability when it comes to lands owned or controlled by the regional district that could be used by the public as parks. The policy clarifies that the regional district does not have funds to maintain park lands and that people use them at their own risk.. Directors voted to write a letter of support for a new type of sewage treatment that Area C director Karl Bergman is planning to install at his home in Oona River. Mr. Bergman described the new technology as an “electronic waste disposal field” that might be able to replace septic fields in remote areas, if it works.

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