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Mid Island chapter calls for public ownership of Nanaimo’s watershed

Jump Lake

This photo taken by Manly in 2006 shows logging on the mountain directly above the Jump Lake reservoir, the source of Nanaimo’s drinking water.

The Mid Island chapter of the Council of Canadians and Vancouver Island Water Watch are calling for public ownership and control of the Nanaimo community drinking watershed.

For years the groups have been saying that the City of Nanaimo and the Nanaimo Regional District should own the community drinking watershed and the land surrounding Jump Lake, the source of Nanaimo’s drinking water. Thursday’s emergency boil water advisory is a prime example of why.

The groups explain that Nanaimo’s watershed is privately owned by two forest companies, Island Timberlands and Timber West, which both actively log in the community drinking watershed. Road construction and logging are the main cause of excessive run-off, erosion and the resulting turbidity in the water.

Chapter activist Paul Manly says, “[The forest company workers] are good people who live in our community. They drink the same water and they don’t want to drink turbid water or water contaminated with fertilizer anymore than the rest of us but they are only employees and have no real control over what the corporations they work for do. We should be concerned about the ownership and control of our watershed, whether the companies are doing their best or not.”

The two groups have produced a pamphlet on the issue that can be read here.

The Mid Island chapter has also been gathering signatures on a petition that they will present to City Council and the Nanaimo Regional District in the New Year.