Today’s Poll

Op/Ed: Sustainable stewardship

Brittny Anderson
By Brittny Anderson
March 7th, 2024

We are privileged to live in a beautiful part of the world, which has been stewarded with care by Indigenous communities since time immemorial.

All of us who live here have an obligation to care for these lands, waters, plants, and animals, and to work towards a sustainable future. This is not only about preserving the flora and fauna – healthy ecosystems and watersheds are vital for our own health as well.

They give us clean drinking water, clean air, and clean places to play and explore. Having healthy watersheds is also important for our resilience to climate change, as they reduce the impact of floods, droughts, and wildfires on our communities, and reduce the costs of responding to these emergencies.

I’ve been working to protect and steward our environment for pretty much all of my adult life. In 2011, I spent a summer as Creston’s Water Smart Ambassador, helping residents to reduce their outdoor water usage, to better manage this precious resource. I also worked with agriculture producers in Erickson to better understand their water use patterns and needs.

Today as MLA, when I talk to people, I hear a lot of the same things as I did that summer.

During my first summer as MLA, I met with a group of residents whose water system had run dry and who were being forced to truck water in for their daily needs such as cooking and bathing. We were able to find a solution by encouraging the neighbouring irrigation district to reduce their water usage, which led to water returning to those households. I then worked with my colleagues in our government to install monitoring wells, so that we can gain a better understanding of the water levels and needs of this area and mitigate challenges like this in the future. I am continuing to look at ways we can support residents in the Creston Valley and throughout the riding through these challenges.

People in our area care deeply about our natural environment and want to do their part to preserve and restore it. People want to ensure there is adequate and clean water for their homes and farms. They also want to see their provincial government taking action to ensure our lands and waters are managed responsibly, in partnership with communities and First Nations.

And that is one of my top priorities too, whether I’m here at home or at the Legislature in Victoria.

Last spring we announced an unprecedented $100 million investment in healthy watersheds across B.C., and people were invited to have their say on our proposed watershed strategy. We’re expecting to announce the final strategy in the coming months, which takes into account much of the feedback on our plan from people who live in and depend on our watersheds.

Taking care of our natural environment requires a lot of collaboration and strong relationships between all the people and communities who are impacted. In November we announced a new framework for nature conservation, which includes a shared commitment by the provincial government, federal government, and the First Nations Leadership Council. Together, the three partners have invested $1 billion over the next eight years to work together to preserve biodiversity and habitats, with the goal of conserving and protecting 30% of B.C.’s lands and waters by 2030.

Here at home, I am continuing to work hard towards a sustainable future for the Kootenays, which is why I have been calling for Forest Landscape Planning in the Kootenays. I know that members of our communities have strong connections to these areas, and I am looking forward to sharing more with you on this work in the coming months.

Our forests and our watersheds shape our province, our communities, and our lives. Let’s continue working together towards a sustainable future for everyone.

Categories: GeneralOp/Ed

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