HELP NEEDED - Drinking water is being capped off!

Discussion in 'General Paddling Discussions' started by Dan_Millsip, Oct 4, 2005.

  1. Dan_Millsip

    Dan_Millsip Paddler & Admin

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2005
    Messages:
    9,305
    Location:
    Beautiful BC
    This past weekend, Mark and I (and Mick Allen) were at the Beaumont campsite on South Pender Island. While there, we noticed a very disturbing sign near the fresh water pump -- the pump is scheduled to be capped off in the near future. On the ferry, we also read in the local Gulf Island newspaper, a letter of complaint that the fresh water pump at Winter Cove, along with 3 other fresh water pumps in the Gulf Islands are to be capped (one of which we assume is the Beaumont pump, another presumably being the pump on Portland Island -- not sure where the fourth is).

    We think this is an important issue that warrants letters being sent to Parks Canada asking them not to cap these fresh water sources. As an avid paddler who spends a great deal of time in the Gulf Islands, I find it nice not to have to carry large amounts of water while on trips.

    We have filters, we have water purification tablets, and we have the ability to boil water from ground sources to make the water safe. Why the need to close these fresh water supplies?

    This is something that will effect all of us who paddle the Gulf Islands.

    Please spend a few minutes and write an e-mail or letter of protest to the Parks Canada office at the address listed below:

    Gulf Islands National Park Reserve of Canada
    2220 Harbour Road
    Sidney, BC
    Canada
    V8L 2P6

    Phone: 250-654-4000

    Fax: 250-654-4014

    Email: gulf.islands@pc.gc.ca



    Here's a picture of the pump at Beaumont Park:
    [​IMG]


    The notice of closure:
    [​IMG]

    The cautionary notice that remains from BC Parks (the notice reads "Caution Driking water should be boiled a minimum of 10 minutes":
    [​IMG]
     
  2. Mark_Schilling

    Mark_Schilling Paddler

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2005
    Messages:
    4,554
    Location:
    "Home by the Sea" - Nanaimo, BC
    I agree - I'll be drafting my letter tomorrow.

    As a very frequent visitor to Gulf Island parks (most of my 42 nights of camping so far have been in the islands), I find the fresh water sources very useful. I don't own any form of water treatment (yet!) but there are many uses of fresh water that don't rely on it for consumption.

    A couple of quick examples are washing dishes (soap works much better in fresh water than in salt!), personal hygiene, and even boiling food (like corn, potatoes, etc.) that doesn't rely on actually consuming the water used (although in this case you'd obviously want to make sure it was boiled long enough to kill off any nasties that come into contact with your food). Sometimes it's just nice to splash some fresh water over yourself to quickly rinse off the salt after paddling in 'wetting' seas, or even just rinse your hands from that yucky, sticky salty feeling after a long day on the water.

    As I see it, there's really no reason to 'cap off' these water sources. The camp sites we're talking about aren't the type to attract car-campers or those who would rely on the water to drink - these sites offer few other services to speak of, so 'fair weather' campers would sooner opt for sites with showers and flush-toilets. People who visit these smaller, marine parks would know the importance of treating water properly first, but would also value it the most - in my opinion.

    I would seriously doubt that anyone has gotten seriously ill from any of these water sources - especially with the very prominent warning signs posted at each pump (stating that water should be boiled etc.) as shown in Dan's photos above.

    What's next - removing picnic tables for fear of spilling boiling water should the table not be levelled properly? We know how to camp, thanks - let us make the decision of what to use and what to avoid!
     
  3. Jill

    Jill Paddler

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2005
    Messages:
    240
    Location:
    Mission
    I read in the brochure for the Gulf islands National Park Reserve, that drinking water will be available at, Prior Central and McDonald campsites.
    also at Sidney spit . There is a note saying the Sidney spit has a high sodium content and should not be consumed by persons with kidney or heart ailments. It says they are shuting down three of its water sources but dosn't list them. Jill
     
  4. fester

    fester Paddler

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2005
    Messages:
    144
    This is another symptom of living in a society created by lawyers. How can we be trusted to treat our drinking water if we can't take responsibility for handling a hot cup of coffee?
     
  5. Roscoetheguide

    Roscoetheguide Paddler

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2005
    Messages:
    19
    Location:
    Maple Ridge
    Gulf Islands drinking water.

    I was at the SKGABC fall exchange last weekend, and one of the speakers there was from the GINPR, and they said that the water was being capped as all water in National Parks has to meet the National Drinking Water Standards (due to Waterton) and seeing as how the water doesn't meet the standards, no-one will be able to use it.
     
  6. Dan_Millsip

    Dan_Millsip Paddler & Admin

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2005
    Messages:
    9,305
    Location:
    Beautiful BC
    Welcome to the site, Roscoe,

    Just curious, what was the reaction to the well closures from the people who attended the SKABC (I assume it was SKABC) meeting?

    *****
     
  7. Dan_Millsip

    Dan_Millsip Paddler & Admin

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2005
    Messages:
    9,305
    Location:
    Beautiful BC
    You are absolutely correct Roscoe -- the decision is a direct fallout from the Waterton incident.

    I just got off the phone with a representative from the Gulf Island National Park Reserve and was told that since the wells are provided as a service that they must conform to the Canadian Drinking Water Standards, which they don't. The fellow I was talking to said that the ruling is in place for the lowest common denominator which unfortunately is the idiot (my word, not his) who drinks directly from the pump without reading signs about treating the water first. Unfortunately, posting a sign saying to filter, treat, or boil the water can only be used on a temporary basis and cannot be permanent.

    There has been concern about the well closures, especially from the people on Saturna Island who use the water for their dogs. He also had read the recent letter to the editor (that we read last weekend) in the Gulf Islands local newspaper.

    In a nutshell, the pumps are being capped "temporarily" until a solution can be implemented to make the water safe for human consumption. In this case, temporary sounds like it may be permanent as there is currently no solution readily available to treat the water.

    The following 3 pumps are being capped:

    - Beaumont Park (on South Pender Island)
    - Winter Cove (on Saturna Island)
    - Princess Margaret (on Portland Island)

    The fellow I spoke to was indeed sympathetic to our concerns and basically said any letters of protest would end up on his desk, and that he would pass them on to his superiors but ultimately, he indicated that nothing will be done as the policy regarding drinking water in Canada has been legislated through parliament. I doubt that it would be possible to fight that legislation.

    Oh well, I guess we're going to have to pack water for trips to these locations. :(

    I'd still be interested to hear what the reaction was from the members of SKGABC.

    *****
     
  8. Dan_Millsip

    Dan_Millsip Paddler & Admin

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2005
    Messages:
    9,305
    Location:
    Beautiful BC
    Just realized that SKGABC stands for Sea Kayak Guides Alliance of BC. :oops:

    *****
     
  9. glock

    glock Paddler

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2005
    Messages:
    51
    Actually this is the result of living in a society where a couple of rednecks in Waterton betrayed the trust of their community. Lawyers only became involved after some of the good common folk where killed by some of the other good common folk in the community.

    The capping of the wells has been in the works for at least two years. It's part of the master plan that is being developed for the Gulf Island Parks. With the limited monitary resources that Parks have; it becomes a numbers game. I encourage everyone to read the master plan and the recommendations. One other step that's been taken is the closing of the islets. You can no longer camp on any of the smaller islets such as Red. Too bad.
     
  10. glock

    glock Paddler

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2005
    Messages:
    51
    If memory serves me right SKGABC members, if not the SKGABC executive, then certainly guides from SKGABC where present at the public meetings when these recommendations where discused. The meetings where held last year. Representatives from the kayaking guiding industry and retail industry where invited to attend and make presentations. No one represented the greater kayaking community.

    Two of the recommendations from the guides were that a reservation system be developed and that more space be set aside for group camping.

    Subseqent to those meetings I attended a presentation that Parks Canada made to the island trust. At that meeting the draft management plan was presented.

    Following that I made some submissions of my own to Parks Canada. It was clear to me that the people writing the policy that would shape kayaking in the Gulf Island had no kayaking experience. These people had no idea of the committment and effort required to make a "simple" trip such as from Portland to Rum Island. They think in terms of power boats. "Oh no space to camp at Portland. Well just go to Rum or Sidney or Beaumont." To them weather, sea state and paddler condition simply where not a part of the equation.

    I then encouraged the executive of the VCKC to become proactive in regards to this issue. I don't know if they did or what the current status of the Draft Management Plan is.

    At one time it was scheduled to go to the Minister and cabinet last spring. If approved the recommendations would become regulations and Parks would go ahead ie> they'd start capping the wells and implimenting the other parts of the plan.
     
  11. Dan_Millsip

    Dan_Millsip Paddler & Admin

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2005
    Messages:
    9,305
    Location:
    Beautiful BC
    Just curious (probably too late to make any difference now), was there anything about this "master plan" published in any public venues such as Wavelength Magazine prior to it's implementation?

    *****
     
  12. Redcedar

    Redcedar Paddler

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2005
    Messages:
    221
    Location:
    Comox
  13. DarrenM

    DarrenM Paddler

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2005
    Messages:
    3,732
    Location:
    Victoria BC
  14. Astoriadave

    Astoriadave Paddler

    Joined:
    May 31, 2005
    Messages:
    5,666
    Location:
    Astoria, Oregon, USA
    That's unbelievable ... sure to raise a stink wherever it happens. FWIW, contracts like that are mandated to be discussed in a public forum, according to Oregon's Open Meetings law. Something like that on the books in BC?
     
  15. Dan_Millsip

    Dan_Millsip Paddler & Admin

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2005
    Messages:
    9,305
    Location:
    Beautiful BC
  16. Dan_Millsip

    Dan_Millsip Paddler & Admin

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2005
    Messages:
    9,305
    Location:
    Beautiful BC
    According to the article, the contract in Campbell River is less than $50,000 so it does not require the consultation of tax payers or even city council. I believe a lot of municipalities and cities have similar policies.

    Scary stuff.

    *****
     
  17. fester

    fester Paddler

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2005
    Messages:
    144
    Lawyers, like all other carrion eaters, can smell death. And will doubtless show themselves when there is an opportunity to benefit from someone's death or misfortune.

    The Reaction to the waterton incident in fuelled by fear. Fear of litigation, liability and lawyers. Not fear of some doofus poisoning our water treatment system.
     
  18. glock

    glock Paddler

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2005
    Messages:
    51
    Is this any worse then a municipal run system where the union guy in charge does not do his job, fakes the documentation, and kills a bunch of his neighbors - re Walkerton.

    As long as the community has performance standards built into the contract and knows how to monitor the contract and performance I don't care who provides the service.

    Getting back to the Island water supply. It's ironic that you can't pump water from the federal marine parks on Portland, Sidney Spit and Beaumont but can go a little further north and pump the well dry on Wallace.

    Gordin
     
  19. glock

    glock Paddler

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2005
    Messages:
    51
    Wasn't that guy in Walkerton a retired diesel mechanic. Man talk about a group that smells of death. Every time they crank up one of their charges another bit of the Ozone buys the farm. These guys are killing us slowly.

    Glock
     
  20. Dan_Millsip

    Dan_Millsip Paddler & Admin

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2005
    Messages:
    9,305
    Location:
    Beautiful BC
    Thank you.

    No irony there. In my discussions with the Parks Canada rep, he told me that not all the pumps in the Gulf Islands are being capped -- only the 3 that are listed. This is because the quality of water in a number of the pumps is still OK for drinking without treatment. I assume that Wallace must be one of them.

    *****