A mantle of smoke overhangs the city of Port Alberni, indicating a thermal inversion of the sort that commonly traps harmful smoke particulate in winter. (MIKE YOUDS PHOTO)

LETTER: Protect Port Alberni’s watershed and save our drinking water

To the Editor,

To the Editor,

My town is slowly poisoning itself, and we aren’t doing anything about it.

Port Alberni’s watershed is the main contributor for our town’s drinking water. We heavily rely on it, and the trees surrounding the area naturally, sustainably, and efficiently filter the water. The trees also prevent devastating landslides and stabilize the banks of streams and steep slopes.

Our drinking water quality is steadily deteriorating and the government is completely ignoring it. By logging the watershed, we are completely destroying free natural filtration.

Our watershed needs to be bought and protected so that logging will forever be halted and clean drinking water for our town, permanently secured. Awareness needs to be spread to the public until the city not only recognizes the problem, but also recognizes the solution and enacts measures to protect it.

Due to certain Private Managed Forest Land Act sections, we are unable to ban forestry practices within our watershed, but as Vancouver and Victoria have done previously, we can buy and protect it. British Columbia’s Nature Fund has millions of dollars allocated to partner with organizations to buy back these sensitive privately-owned ecological areas. The funds are available; now we need the city’s full support.

I am angry that logging of the watershed has continued and that there is little awareness of the harm done. I fear that with the present rate of logging, it will soon be too late to save the watershed. So we must act quickly before it is too late.

I along with the citizens of Port Alberni need to do whatever it takes to secure a permanent clean drinking water source. Whether it be writing letters, holding strikes, or organizing protests. We the people will need the support of the town, and eventually the support of the government. We need to continue to spread awareness and finally solve this dire situation.

Joseph Tsai,

Port Alberni

Alberni Valley News