Four generations say no to contaminated soil

Shawnigan Lake – My family has owned property in Shawnigan Lake since approximately 1905. My great-grandfather, E. E. Leason, was one of the first homeowners on the lake. In fact, my children swim in the same bay their great-great-grandfather did, 110 years ago.

When I think of my family’s presence in the history of the Shawnigan Lake community it has always made me feel extremely proud. My children have grown up with strong respect for their roots and appreciation of the lake, through stories and photos of their family members who swam, fished, and paddled in Shawnigan Lake every summer for decades. It’s the kind of deep connection that is felt when you have four generations come before you.

Imagine our family’s shock and anger to find out that South Island Aggregates has been authorized to expose both Victoria’s and Shawnigan Lake’s drinking water sources to the enormous health risks a toxic waste dump poses. Access to clean water is not only a basic human right, but it is a necessity of life.

In light of Minister of Environment Mary Polak’s obvious support of SIA’s permit, I question her ability as a leader to make sound decisions concerning the environment and the citizens of British Columbia. I question her competence and willingness to interpret facts honestly.

I implore Minister Polak to do the right thing by the citizens of Shawnigan Lake and Victoria and revoke SIA’s permit. The risk of an environmental catastrophe is far too great. Take up the CVRD’s offer to find a more suitable site. Protect Shawnigan Lake from becoming the next Mt. Polley disaster.

If my grandparents and great-grandparents were here today to voice their opposition, to fight this mockery of a decision, they surely would. But knowing what they would do only fuels our anger and makes us stronger. It encourages us to fight harder for what we know to be right, and to do everything we can to prevent a toxic waste dump from ever being in the Shawnigan Lake Watershed.

Dana Hahn, Leason family Shawnigan Lake