NDP question timing of Liberal funding announcement for Hullcar water in advance of election
Charlotte Helston - Reporter
Manure being spread on a field above the Hullcar Aquifer, a practice local residents believe is leading to dangerously high nitrate levels in their drinking water.
Image Credit: Al Price
March 08, 2017 - 9:00 PM
VERNON - The Liberals are being accused of ulterior motives in a recent funding announcement for drinking water in the North Okanagan.
The NDP’s George Heyman raised the point on Monday in the B.C. Legislature, stating the Ministry of Environment announced a $950,000 investment to deal with water pollution in the Hullcar Valley “just hours before the member for Shuswap was expected to be roasted by residents for the longstanding water pollution crisis.”
A community meeting was scheduled the evening of March 3 for local community members to meet with government staff over the issue. The funding announcement came out around 2 p.m. the same day.
Spallumcheen residents and members of the Splatsin First Nation who get their drinking water from the Hullcar Aquifer have been on a water advisory since 2014 due to elevated nitrate levels. Residents believe farming practices are the source of the problem and have been demanding action from the provincial government for years.
“After years of raising concerns on this issue why did it take the upcoming election before Hullcar Valley residents got the first concrete action by this government to provide clean safe water?” Heyman said.
Environment Minister Mary Polak shot back that an inter-ministry team has been working on the issue for a long time. She said the funding was provided in response to the data, reports and information gathered as a result of ‘multi-year work’.
“Work on this aquifer has been taking place for two years,” Polak said.
In a release, the government said the funding will be used to “support alternative drinking water sources, fund treatment for domestic well users and support sustainable, environmentally appropriate farming in the Hullcar Valley.”
The provincial election is set for May 9.
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