Residents committed to protecting water

Re: “Weaver pursues deeper probe of dump,” Oct. 4.

We in Shawnigan have, sadly, grown accustomed to Environment Minister Mary Polak dismissing our concerns about the safety of our drinking water and the threats created by the activities at the site owned by South Island Aggregates.

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The minister suggests that it is “wildly impractical” to do core sampling on Lot 21 of SIA’s property, despite the contaminants that MLA Andrew Weaver found leaching into Shawnigan Creek, which feeds Shawnigan Lake. The lake and the surrounding watershed is the drinking-water source for 12,000 people.

Weaver found a wide range of metals to be between three and 18 times higher than levels just upstream from the site.

We expected that Weaver’s findings would prompt action from the environment minister. Instead, more than two months later, she suggests she will “discuss the possibility” of further monitoring.

Polak also insists that she remains confident that the permit issued by her ministry, allowing dumping of five million tonnes of contaminated soil in our watershed, is “perfectly safe.”

She does not mention that a judicial review of the permit is underway in the B.C. Supreme Court, and that serious allegations are being raised against the owners of SIA and their engineers, Active Earth. Nor does she mention the documented concerns of nine independent scientists, who argue that the dumpsite poses a threat to drinking water in Shawnigan Lake.

We in Shawnigan remain thoroughly disappointed with the Environment Ministry and utterly committed to protecting our water and our future.

Sonia Furstenau

Shawnigan Lake director

Cowichan Valley Regional District

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