VICTORIA – One of the first orders of business for the BC NDP after its swearing in July 18 was to order a review of how the government of former Premier Christy Clark addressed aquifer contamination in the North Okanagan.
Due by September 30, the authors missed their deadline as the report required more time than expected.
“The report has not yet been finalized,” BC’s Ministry of Environment told Country Life in BC. “We expect to receive the report in the next few weeks and will make it publically available.”
Oliver Brandes, co-director of the POLIS Project on Ecological Governance at the University of Victoria’s Centre for Global Studies and a technical advisor to the province regarding the ongoing development and implementation of the Water Sustainability Act is leading the review. Calvin Sandborn of the University of Victoria’s Environmental Law Centre is a special advisor.
Brandes and Sandborn are working with ministry staff to finalize the report in collaboration with First Nations and key stakeholders.
Trevor Hargreaves, director of producer relations and communications for the BC Dairy Association, has been actively involved in discussions regarding the aquifer since the issue emerged. However, he has not been given a timeline for the report’s delivery.
He’s looking forward to reading it, and hopes the extra time the province is taking underscores a desire to get it right.
“There’s no industry disappointment,” he said. “I would prefer the timeline is one that sees the analysis be fully and carefully completed rather than just trying to rush it out. … When it comes to an issue like this, there are many different facets for analysis.”
BC agriculture minister Lana Popham made a similar point shortly after the review’s announcement.
“Of course there’s a lot of finger-pointing at the agriculture industry,” she said. “But we have to consider all areas of pollutants, and potential pollutants.”