Shawnigan Lake – In any other part of the world, a single entity threatening the water supply of many would be listed as terrorism.
Yet, in Shawningan Lake, a community of 8,000, there is a plan to situate a five million tonne toxic soil dump approximately one kilometre away, 100 feet above, beside a feeder creek to the lake, in an earthquakeprone area. This lake is the only drinking water source for the entire area.
The soil is to be dumped in a hole that will have an engineered plastic liner that has no longevity record beyond approximately 35 years. The toxic soil on the other hand will not break down for hundreds of years.
Residents can be forgiven if they feel under threat from the Ministry of the Environmentapproved “toxic soil in a baggy” solution to their safety.
Consider that any breach, even closely monitored, would still allow toxic runoff into the lake before authorities could react and it would take less than 15 minutes for the pollution to reach the lake.
This brings to mind other “engineered solutions” such as Mt. Polley, the Love Canal, or the Titanic. Shawnigan residents accept that no solution is perfect but, taking highly unwise gambles, when other more sensible solutions exist, is an “idiot’s game”.
Allowing a toxic soil dump in a drinking watershed is a precedent-setting action that threatens all of B.C. MLAs are in a position to oppose this incredibly risky and dangerous project.
The people of Shawnigan Lake, and all of British Columbia, are relying on all MLAs to insist on a much more sensible and safe solution to this problem.
A petition will be presented to the Legislature on May 13. We will see, at that time, which MLAs have the courage to speak up for the safety of our citizens.