There are other options for protecting our water supply
Re: Couverdon land annexation and watershed lands
The Town Council wants to own the Holland Creek Watershed to protect our water supply.
Protection of water quality and quantity is an excellent objective. They are commended for their concern and intent.
But they are so focused on this objective, they are not able to see other ways to achieve this end. There are other ways that are not so costly and risky.
Home owners know that that there are significant ongoing costs and responsibilities that go along with ownership. It will be the taxpayers of Ladysmith that pick up future costs for the care and management of lands acquired as part of the Couverdon deal.
These costs have not been documented. Residents need to know what future burden they will be taking on. It is a simple part of rational decision making.
So let’s look at another option: managed forest land.
I believe that water quality and quantity can be maintained in a manner compatible with forestry. Our current forest practices are the problem.
Forest road construction can be a huge issue but when done to the appropriate standards can be built and used without adding sediment to our streams, or changing the timing and quantity of flow.
Forest practices such as: selective cutting, small block cutting, retention of areas around wetlands and for habitat, appropriate stream buffers, recognition and accommodation of other uses, replanting, thinning, etc., all help to maintain water quality and quantity.
So rather than simply focusing on ownership with its high and uncertain future costs, why not look at partnering with TimberWest, First Nations, and the Province for more effective planning and operations within the watershed to meet these goals.
This seems like a much more effective and cost-efficient approach rather than acquiring land in exchange for the rights given to Couverdon to develop 700 acres of forest land for residential development.
The Couverdon and Town proposal creates an ironic situation.
The Couverdon development will significantly change 700 acres of watershed to residential use (not our drinking water but a watershed nevertheless) and will likely take water demand beyond the capacity of the Holland Creek system. The irony: it defeats the goal of protecting the watershed in the first place.
Council, I encourage you to look at other ways of achieving the objective. As said before, the road to hell is paved with good intentions.
The Town may yet decide to proceed to a referendum.
If you are interested in the impacts of this proposed development on our community, you can follow developments or post your thoughts on the Facebook page Couverdon Watch. Look back at the many posts (started in late April) that document the failings of the Couverdon proposal.
If you are concerned with this proposal and would like to get involved to help defeat a referendum, let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.