LETTER: B.C. land is sinking and I don't want to swim | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Kamloops News

LETTER: B.C. land is sinking and I don't want to swim



To the editor,

A new investigation by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives has revealed the Gordon Campbell government was warned in a Nov. 2010 report that a critical staffing shortage at its River Forecast Centre could put the B.C. public at risk. The 38-page report was written by Jim Mattison, a former senior-ranking member of the provincial Ministry of Environment.

Mattision had recommended RFC staffing needed to rise from 5.5 full-time employees to a minimum of 12 employees if the agency was to provide effective critical warnings to vulnerable communities threatened by floods. Yet the employee levels at the RFC remain unchanged to this day!

So what happened last month? The RFC's first advisory came at noon on Nov.13, five days after the first general warning was issued by Washington state officials at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

With Mattison's report and The Tragically Hip's 1989 song New Orleans Is Sinking serving as inspiration, what follows is my slight song rewrite:

B.C. Land Is Sinking

All right

Blueberries in the deep, sow but not reap
Under skies ominous blue grey
Had to forsake my home that's a lake
So all we could do was pray
My memory is muddy, what's this state that I'm in?
B.C. land is sinkin', man, and I don't wanna swim

Premier John, what's wrong, what's goin' on?
Few forecasters at the RFC
Red sky in mornin', early flood warnin'
You gotta do what you know is key
Ain't got no dry belongings, ain't got no souvenirs
What does the future hold now, I'm thinkin' 'bout those years

Pickin' out highlights of the scenery
Tulameen, Similkameen, Sumas Prairie
Coquihalla, Chilliwack, and the Fraser
Nicola, Spius, Coldwater, see you later

I had my feet in the river, now the sandbags on the banks
Looked up to the Lord above and said, "Hey, man, thanks"
Sometimes I feel so bad I gotta scream
Then said that guy Noah, "I know exactly what you mean"
He said, he said, I swear to God he said

Oh, no
No, yeah!

My memory is clearcut, what's this state that I'm in?
B.C. land is floodin', man, and I don't wanna swim
BC land needs new floor plan 'cause I don't wanna swim


It seems obvious that B.C. needs not only to increase the River Forecast Centre's number of employees as soon as possible, but also develop a new "forest floor plan" -- aka new Forest Act -- with input from everyone: the public at large, Ministry of Forests staff, all B.C. political parties, Indigenous groups, irrigation districts, local watershed groups, foresters and forest management experts, environmental organizations (such as Sierra Club B.C.), sawmills and other forest products companies, loggers, municipal governments, et. al.

If the Horgan government chooses not to move forward with province-wide discussions, you can rest assured the topic of a new Forest Act will become a major issue in the next B.C. election campaign.

— David Buckna, Kelowna

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