If there is one thing to be precautionary about, it’s our water.
During last week’s council meeting, there was a discussion about a proposed amendment to the rules governing an industrial landfill located next to Rico Lake, which is connected to McIvor Lake, from which the city supplies its water.
The changes would allow contaminated soils to be accepted at the facility, as long as they fell below the definition of “hazardous waste.”
Some people scoff at even the mention of the precautionary principle. But if there is ever a time to apply the precautionary principle in land use planning, it is to protect our water supply.
Do we even need to argue the importance of clean water?
The ethical, educated, and experienced engineers, hydrologists, and other professionals involved in the project may have concluded there is no or minimal risk to the project on our drinking water supply — and the regulators in charge of checking their work might agree.
After all, the facility undoubtedly adheres to if not surpasses all design features, such as a “leak proof” liner, as required by standards and regulation.
But people have been wrong before. Bridges have collapsed, containments have failed, and good intentions have been blown to smithereens.
So what happens if they might be proved wrong someday? Contaminants, such as heavy metals, might leach into our drinking supply. Then what? How would that affect the health and wellness of the people of Campbell River?
Could such contaminants even be removed? Even if possible, it certainly would not be cheap.
We commend the Campbell River Environmental Committee for sticking up for our drinking water and the four members of city council who agreed with them. If Campbell River is serious about its future as a healthy and vibrant community, it must protect what matters most.