Don McRae MIA on water too?

Dear editor,

Re: More questions than answers with water (April 14 letter):

With all the issues swirling around our drinking water, why is the one person we should hear from, BC Liberal MLA Don McRae, missing in action? It’s terrible he hasn’t said anything about this urgent issue.

We’re on the brink of long-term debt and municipal tax/water rate increases for a $70 million water filtration plant that we may not even need if only logging, land use and watershed authority are updated to reflect the 21st century and the public need for healthy drinking water.

Like many, I worry about the destruction of forests in our watershed by timber company “owners” and conflict of interest. Their “lumber” includes trees that store and filter our drinking water. These trees are much higher in value to the public than the private selloff of raw logs.

But who’s the sellout?

It’s economic and ecological madness to make citizens buy expensive, energy-intensive “grey infrastructure” to replace what our overharvested forests’ “green infrastructure” does for free. We need one watershed authority to ensure fair public priorities and public interest.

The BC Deputy Minister of Environment recently said “long term success” in water security will be measured when human activities “result in cumulative benefits, not impacts” and by the “game-changer” of updating asset management to include trees’ valuable “water balance services”.

Many BC government initiatives – Living Water Smart, Green Communities, Climate Leadership Plan – depend on such accurate values. So where’s Don McRae?

Forests are lucrative public assets. Trees hold water as high on our landscape for as long as possible, storing water for times of drought and absorbing excess for flood protection. Climate change will intensify BC’s water extremes. Luckily trees help that too, if we let them live and absorb carbon.

Fred Smith

Courtenay

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