Friday, October 24, 2008

Island Watersheds Need Protection from Private Owners

Island Lens #111 – October 24, 2008

By Richard Boyce


On a recent walk around Labour Day Lake, I was enchanted by the mycrological world that erupts with the return of the rains. I spent the entire day examining mushrooms with a wide range of colours: bright yellow, orange, red, dull purple, green, white, and every variation of brown. Some were so tiny they made the evergreen needles look big, while others were the size of soccer balls. They grew on rotting logs, amongst the evergreen needles, and high up on dying trees. Some looked extremely delicate and others hard shelled.

I particularly enjoy hiking at this time of year because of the profusion of life that comes out of death. Decaying wood and the thick layers of humus that have accumulated over the years, forming a rich forest floor, dotted with a diversity of mushrooms. I have only seen such an abundance of mushrooms in old growth forests where centuries of vegetable matter decaying into soil provides a lush environment for fungi.

Mushrooms that appear on a wide variety of surfaces in the forest are actually the fruiting bodies of fungi, which for the most part are hidden below the surface and can stretch out for great distances. They are an indication of a healthy and vibrant forest ecosystem. Water is purified through soil, which is stabilized by tree root systems, that live in a semiotic relationship with fungi.

Labour Day Lake is the main water source for the Cameron River, which flows into Cameron Lake at Cathedral Grove and then into the Little Qualicum River. This water becomes the drinking water source for Whiskey Creek and the Town of Qualicum Beach. Human Resources Development Canada invested in the recreation site around Labour Day Lake by hiring out-of-work forestry workers to build trails around this sub-alpine lake.

Island Timberlands owns the land around Labour Day Lake and has plans to log this old growth forest in the near future. In 2005 a Federal court ruling stated that the BC Liberal government must have meaningful negotiations with Hupacasath First Nation before Island Timberlands could privatize 70,300 hectares of forestland in TFL 44. The deal went through anyway and now the land is being logged with no regards for the public or the environment.

Public drinking water is being threatened from many different angles including: logging, mining, residential developments, insecticides, herbicides, chemical fertilizers, sewage, ditching of roadways, farming, golf courses, and wetland diversions. At some point the interest of water protection must come first. Private land owners cannot be allowed to destroy the watersheds that provide the public with drinking water.

Every level of government, municipal, provincial, and federal must work together in order to establish laws that are able to supercede the rights of private landowners, when it comes to protecting the safety and quality of drinking water. Today water does not have any real protection under the law, because our society is based around private ownership of land.

What you can do to change the status quo is to make water protection an election issue by asking your local candidates what they plan to do about private destruction of public water. Local municipal Elections are fast approaching on Saturday November 15, 2008 and the BC Provincial elections will be on May 12, 2009.

I live in the Nanaimo Regional District area F where there are two candidates running for the position of area director. The incumbent, Lou Biggemann, has shown his colors as a supporter of development, and commercial industry. I have met Biggeman at several public events where he has verbally expressed displeasure with my writing and my stance on the environment.

Ceri Peacey is also running for the position of director of the RDN area F, she is a director with the Friends of French Creek Conservation Society in charge of the Hamilton Marsh Committee. I have heard her speak to the regional board in Nanaimo, with passion and articulation, calling for action to protect the watershed. She has put a great deal of time and energy into public awareness of the environment and she asks for input from others.

Vancouver is a rock in the ocean, which dries out completely during the long draughts of summer and fall. Some years are exceptionally dry while others include sporadic rains that dampen the moods of many locals, but do little for the water table. Aside from human consumption, fresh water is essential for salmon, fresh water fish, tourism, forests, plants, and animal life. Water is the essence of life! Where’s the protection?

Sunday, October 19, 2008

La Complainte du Phoque en Alaska

***IMPORTANT NOTE: To see subtitles, you need to turn the captions "on" by clicking on the arrow button at the bottom right of the screen, then hover over the CC symbol and turn the captions "on". Thanks.***

This video was created by a few Qu├ębec artists to denounce the cuts in cultural funding by the Conservative government, led by Stephen Harper. This version includes english subtitles.

When Beau Dommage's Michel Rivard visits a newly formed governmental committee overseeing cultural financing, language gaps and cultural misunderstandings abounds, mostly when Rivard plays his classical song, "La Complainte du Phoque en Alaska" (The Complaint of the Seal in Alaska)...

***I received a message from the original creators, so I assume it's accepted that my subtitled version doesn't interfere with their intellectual property.***