The recent Re-Think Our Watershed event at North Island College has started a community-wide discussion about the health of the Comox Lake Watershed — the drinking watershed for 45,000 residents.
The event, which filled the Stan Hagen Theatre, was organized to share information and address concerns following two boil water advisories, the most recent lasting an unprecedented seven weeks.
Hosted by the Comox Valley Conservation Strategy Community Partnership, the event focused on the future health of the watershed. It included presentations and a panel discussion from stakeholders such as the Comox Valley Regional District and TimberWest.
An overwhelming concern expressed by the audience was water quality protection and watershed health.
Most of the audience expressed a desire for an effective governance structure with the authority to manage the watershed based on principles of ecosystem science.
The public had a chance to learn about the Comox Lake Watershed Advisory Group (WAG) — a committee established by the CVRD in 2014 to develop and oversee the implementation of a watershed protection plan — from spokesperson Wayne White. A number of presenters and panelists participated in the WAG.
“It became undoubtedly clear that, even though there are challenges and many different stakeholder perspectives, collaboration and positive relationships with land owners, government and community stakeholders are critical to understanding and resolving the issues in the Comox Lake Watershed,” stated panel member Jack Minard, representing the CVCSCP.
“There’s no quick fix here,” CVCSCP project manger David Stapley said. “There’s a lot of unanswered questions right now.”
A summary of the event is available at cvconservatonstrategy.org/cvcs-documents-maps
The Strategy will continue to work with WAG to advocate for a precautionary approach to managing land and resources in the watershed, and to safeguard water quality and overall watershed health.
Further information is available at cvconservationstrategy.org