I attended a meeting hosted by Eric Gant and his fellow land tenure applicants at the Union Bay Hall.
Representatives from the DFO, the Deep Bay Marine Field Station, and the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resources all gave presentations, as did Mr. Gant’s own biologist.
I came away from the meeting with a strong sense of unease. The science of their plan was lacking and not well explained because as they admit themselves this is an experiment, a “pilot project.” Even the DFO representative admitted that very little data exists on open water sea cucumber farms.
At the end of the evening during the Q&A when I asked Mr. Gant if it would not be more prudent to try this experiment on a scale smaller than the 262 hectares they are asking for in their application, he said; “No, we need to be large to make a profit, and it’s profit or perish.”
What happened to the experiment, what happened to the pilot project? Now it’s about making a profit.
Most of us live and work in the Comox Valley because we love the lifestyle and natural beauty of the place. In an area where summer recreation includes time at the beach, boating, fishing and enjoying our wonderful marine parks, do we really want to have to compete with aquaculture concerned only about making a profit?
The beaches and waters of Baynes Sound are some of the nicest anywhere, what will they look like in the future if this application is approved?
The industrialization of our foreshore and intertidal waters has already begun; it is slowly marching up Baynes Sound as we speak. The time has come for us to draw our line in the sand. The beaches and waters of the Sound belong to all of us, not a chosen few who wish to profit from them.
Other communities have been successful in preventing the industrialization of their waters, but we must take action.
The application is going to be heard on June 29. Write Kathy Evans, Manager Aquaculture, Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations at 2500 Cliffe Ave., Courtenay, B.C. V9N 5M6. Or e-mail Kenneth.Albrecht@gov.bc.ca.
Let them know that the beaches, foreshore and waters of our area are not for sale.