Water issues a high priority for legislative committee
New Glasgow – A new provincial Water Act should be in place before any long-term decisions are made about water exports, says Rustico-Emerald MLA and Opposition Environment Critic Brad Trivers.
“Islanders have a deep connection to our water resources. One of the clear messages from the consultations on the Water Act is that when it comes to our water we should err on the side of caution - water is limited in quantity, and is shared by all Islanders - not a commodity to be sold for the benefit of a few. The proposed bottled water plant is raising such public concern because the Water Act consultations are still ongoing. If we are looking at bringing in stronger rules around water usage then we need to halt projects like this until those rules are in place and being enforced,” says Trivers.
Plans to develop a Water Act were first announced by government in 2014. A White Paper on a new Water Act was tabled in the Legislature in July 2015. Public consultations began in October 2015 and are still ongoing. Recently, a proposed commercial development in Brookvale involving a water bottling plant for export has raised community concerns about the stringency of the environmental review process in the absence of a new provincial Water Act.
“Water issues have been high on the priority list for the standing committee. We’ve put issues on the agenda around funding levels for watershed groups, fish kills and now water exports are being reviewed by the committee. So hopefully there’s a chance for Islanders to have their voices heard before any final decisions are made on this project by government,” said Morell-Mermaid MLA Sidney MacEwen who also sits on the Standing Committee on Communities, Land and Environment.“