Cowichan Valley MLA Bill Routley said he will work to hold the B.C. Liberals’ feet to the fire on a number of issues in 2016.
“Next year my priorities include continuing to hold government to account for refusing to listen to our Cowichan Valley communities on issues such as the Shawnigan Lake contaminated soil dump and our Cowichan River watershed management concerns,” he said.
The goings-on in the south end of his riding really irk the NDP MLA.
“There is something very wrong with a Ministry of Environment process that permits a contaminated soil dump uphill from our beautiful Shawnigan Lake and right next to a connecting stream,” he said. “Particularly troubling is the conflicting experts reports, one acting for the community, saying it may be fractured limestone under the site and contaminated water may leech through!”
Routley predicts the people of Shawnigan will continue the fight to win their battle.
“They will fight on no matter how long it takes,” he said. “This is a community that will never give up on preserving and protecting clean water.”
His hope for the new year is simple.
“I really, really hope government will finally listen to our communities who are united in voice and action in demanding the protection and action for our watersheds.”
Water will continue to be a critical issue throughout the Cowichan Valley, Routley noted.
“Even though we get lots of rain, without snow pack on the mountains we could end up with more water restrictions and trucking fish up the Cowichan River in the fall again as we have done at least five times out of the last 10 years,” he said. “This is a problem that could be resolved by listening to the community and holding back a little more rain water with the weir at Cowichan Lake.”
Routley also aims to hold the government accountable for various scandals.
“Scandals such as the Liberal Quick Wins strategy which involved the Chinese head tax, the firing and re-hiring of health care staff, and the broken children in care system, et cetera, et cetera,” he said. “Sadly we have a government that lacks accountability with delete, delete, delete of government documents.”
While not in Victoria leaning on the government, Routley said he would continue to advocate for the people of Shawnigan Lake and the protection and the safeguarding of their watershed.