The need for a better ambulance service

The need for a better ambulance service

Green party MLA Adam Olsen has been listening to the calls for a better ambulance service since 2017. The need became even more apparent after 808 people died during the last five days of June. 75% of them are believed to have perished because of the heat wave that stuck the province. A large number were allegedly waiting for ambulances that arrived too late. BC Emergency Health Services was already moving towards an enhanced emergency services program, expected to create more than 170 regular positions across the province, when this occurred. Written article  article...
Cortes Island’s aquifers: rainwater, wells, salinization and Climate Change

Cortes Island’s aquifers: rainwater, wells, salinization and Climate Change

As the level 4 ‘drought’ continues and some shallow well owners are concerned about their water supply, CKTZ News asked an expert about Cortes Island aquifers. Dr Diana Allen is the head of the Groundwater Resources Research Group at Simon Fraser University. While she has not been to Cortes, Allen has been working on islands like Hornby, Mayne, Saturna and Salt Spring since 1996. Will the Cortes Island aquifer collapse? The most alarming concern is that people drilling wells could punch holes in the island’s aquifer and cause it collapse. This idea was expressed during an interview last week, during which John Preston also pointed out that what used to a be year round wetland, in Whaletown, has been drying up every summer for the past five years. CKTZ news contacted Red Williams, a well driller from Parksville who serves the surrounding area on Vancouver Island, the Sunshine Coast, Quadra and Cortes Islands. While he sometimes hears this fear expressed, Williams said he has never encountered a case of an aquifer collapsing. The main problem he has seen is some shallow wells run out of water during dry spells. He said this is an ongoing problem, but there ways that homeowners can extend their supply and the aquifer is replenished when the rains come. “Yes, I agree with him,“ said  Allen, who immediately added, “Well, I guess it depends what someone considers to be collapsing an aquifer.” Allen went on to talk about subsidence, adding that she has heard of it in places like California’s Central Valley and Mexico City, but not British Columbia. Subsidence: the registered aquifers “When you take ground water out of an aquifer that consists of interlayers of sand...
Cortes Island’s first wetland restoration project

Cortes Island’s first wetland restoration project

The preliminary stages of Cortes Island’s first wetland restoration project are underway at Dillon Creek, on Linnaea Farm. “Back in 2014, we had a very large algae bloom in the lake. There was a very annoying smell and taste in the water for about two weeks and then it lingered on for about another two weeks with the smell in the air,” explained lead author Rex Weyler, when the first Hague & Gunflint Lakes Monitoring Report was published in 2017. The problem was human septic and livestock nutrients draining into the lake. The field at Dillon Creek – photo by Roy L Hales “Everyone who lives around the lake is a contributor,” said Autumn Barrett-Morgan, a Biological Monitoring Technician with the Friends of Cortes Island Society (FOCI). However, Dillon Creek has been a vector for a significant amount of the nutrient and sediment input into Gunflint and Hague lakes. Prior to the advent of what is now Linnaea Farm, the field used to be a wetland and a series of meandering streams that would have naturally filtered out nutrients and sediment. This wetland was drained via man-made Dillon Creek, and turned into agricultural land decades ago. Draining wetlands was a common farming practice around the world, to gain access to rich soils and relatively flat land. FOCI and Linnaea Farm have partnered to restore wetlands in a lower portion of the field, up from the mouth of Dillon Creek into Gunflint Lake. The construction work will take place from August 15th to 17th, but in the meantime FOCI has been carrying out invasive species removal and biological monitoring. CKTZ News interviewed Autumn Barrett-Morgan on July 29th, the day after a...
Cortes Foundation: Bridging the issues that divide us

Cortes Foundation: Bridging the issues that divide us

Sometime this fall, the Cortes Foundation will be offering the community of Cortes Island a public venue to explore, and bridge, the issues that divide us. Photo of Norman Rockwell’s 1942 painting Freedom of Speech at the townhall in Cambridge, Vermont – photo by George Putnam, Chair of Cambridge’s Select Board (town council).  The topic came up during a discussion about the water shortages some of the Island’s shallow wells are currently experiencing, while Cortes is at drought level four. “We’re going to set up a much larger conversation, island wide, on any topic. Yesterday we were at a meeting that discussed sponsoring a facilitator to be present through the Fall, on specific dates, to get together and start airing out some of the issues that people are encountering on the Island, any divisiveness between groups,” said John Preston, one of the Directors of the Cortes Foundation. “So we are aiming at taking the next step, offering the Island a voice to speak to itself and try to reach consensus on many different issues.” As we get closer to the launch date, they will be explaining how, where and when these discussions will take place. One of the immediate topics of concern will undoubtedly be a collective response to the Island’s water issues. Preston believes the deep wells some people are drilling punch holes in the aquifer and threaten everyone’s water supply. As regards the Cortes Foundation, Preston said, “It is a game changer for Cortes. We now have an instrument that will allow us to attend to these kinds of issues. Cortes now has a basket that it can fill with resources that are for everyone. The foundation is...
Encouraging the province to become more involved in forestry research

Encouraging the province to become more involved in forestry research

At their July 14th Meeting, the Strathcona District Board moved that “a letter be sent to the Minister of Forests encouraging the province to become more involved in research and distribution of science-based information.” As Mayor Martin Davis of Tahsis, who made the motion, explained, “In the last several years there has been a real drop off of participation of Ministry of Forests in providing the research and background that we would hope would be impartial. I think that is a real lack. To depend on the logging companies for our information is really not the best place to be going for this. There should be independent research we can depend on.” Photo courtesy the Wilderness Committee The idea came out of the SRD’s Municipal Services committee where Charlie Cornfield, one of the more influential of five Campbell River directors that recently carried placards at a pro-industry rally, agreed. “It has always been a problem to find an acceptable source of information,” he said. This was one of the few points that Cornfield and Davis agreed on. Meeting with industry Mayor Brad Unger of Gold River, Mayor Andy Adams of Campbell River and Campbell River Directors Colleen Evans, Ron Kerr and Cornfield were all praising a meeting they had with the forestry sector the previous day. “It was a very healthy and engaging process as we continue to work with the forest sector, as it plays a significant role in the economy for the entire North Island,” said Adams. “It was really good to see,” said Unger. “It made me feel optimistic and positive for the first time in a long time,” said Kerr. To which Evans added that the industry provided...