Shuswap Water Quality Planning – Stirred Up But Settling … for Now

slipp bannerThe threat over stymying efforts for integrated water quality management in the Shuswap intensified in the past few days with Larry Morgan, the CSRD director for the North Shuswap, leading the charge to withdraw from the SLIPP  initiative.

Three relevant bits of info follow. (1) the announcement of the eventual positive vote of the CSRD (2) a background article on the issue from the Observer and (3) a reporting take from the Kamloops Daily News (Fortems):

Like many, I have an general understanding of the issues but would benefit from further information that readers might want to contribiute via the Comments section.

(1) From the Seas listserver

Hi all this just in from Ray Nadeau with the Shuswap Water Action Team and the public rep on the SLIPP Board:

Good News – We are very pleased to advise that the CSRD Area Directors today voted
5 to 1 to approve funding for a successor organization to SLIPP. It is to be formed in 2014 to address Water Quality and Safety issues in the Shuswap Watershed. The only Area Director to vote against it was Larry Morgan of the North Shuswap.
We sincerely thank you for your help. Many of you responded on short notice to our request for emails of support, and copies were made for all the CSRD Area Directors.  Together you made it very clear there is broad public support for this issue. ( note: that About 70 emails were received in support of the project – a direct result of all of our efforts)
The following are some of the details:
-$240,000 was approved from the existing joint gas tax pool.
-It now needs approval by the full CSRD Board which we expect will happen.
-The Thompson Nicola Regional District and City of Salmon Arm will also be contributing funds, and the Regional District of North Okanagan hopefully will as well.
Work can now begin on a successor organization to SLIPP to be designed to take water quality and safety coordination in the Shuswap Watershed to the next level including remediation. It will be made in the Shuswap Watershed, for the Shuswap Watershed, with broad public input.
“Thank You for your help”  – Together we are making a difference.
(2) The Observer article Infighting clouds water project (Brouwer: Nov. 5 2013) reports on the issue. Check out the full article.

The three-year Shuswap Lake Integrated Planning Process pilot project will end on March 31, 2014.

The majority of the members of the SLIPP steering committee agreed to move ahead with water-quality monitoring and a lake safety program for the entire Shuswap Watershed.

But Columbia Shuswap Regional District Area F North Shuswap director Larry Morgan is vehement in his opposition – as is the president of the North Shuswap Chamber of Commerce Dave Cunliffe.

It is this opposition that frustrates Mike Simpson, senior regional manager for the Fraser Basin Council Thompson Region and SLIPP program manager, who says there is general consensus for a watershed-based program with a more limited focus.

(3) From the Fortems article Regional director threatens future of Shuswap group (Nov. 7 2013). Check out the full article as well.

Kamloops Mayor Peter Milobar said opposition comes from a  fringe group who don’t want rules enforced. The city contributes through Thompson-Nicola Regional District.

“It’s a misconception SLIPP is involved in enforcement. It’s a way to have 14 agencies enforce rules  that have existed for a long time.”

Milobar called those opposing SLIPP “a vocal, small group that don’t want to see changes.”

Paul Demenok, chairman of a SLIPP steering committee, accused critics,  including Morgan of spreading misinformation. The committee he heads is  looking to replace SLIPP, which is set to expire early next year, with a new body.

The director for the South Shuswap area also noted funding won’t come from property taxes.

Local conservationist Jim Cooperman called Morgan’s stance “typical.

Your quality thoughts on both watershed protection and political posturing?

Author: Tim Lavery

Aim High Salmon Arm It matters

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