The SRD's resolution to stop licensing groundwater extraction was passed at the UBCM, according to Bruce Gibbons of the Merville Water Guardians. (Skitterphoto, Pexels)
The campaign is a success, but there’s still so much to be done.
That’s according to Bruce Gibbons, founder of the Merville Water Guardians, and the main force behind the lobby to stop groundwater extraction for bottling and exporting purposes in several communities on Vancouver Island.
The Strathcona Regional District passed a resolution not to grant licenses for groundwater extraction earlier this year, which the Union of BC Municipalities passed on Friday.
Gibbons has been working with various local districts on Vancouver Island. Most recently, he has been working with the SRD. The SRD’s resolution was forwarded to the Association of Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities, where it was passed unanimously in April.
Now that it’s been passed at the UBCM, Gibbons says it’s a huge win.
“We’ve been campaigning for months now, contacting all of the member communities of the UBCM, asking them to support this resolution,” he said.
“(On Friday), that resolution came before them for a vote and the resolution passed, so we’re very very pleased with that. It’s a big statement that all of the communities of BC are now asking the provincial government to stop the bottling of groundwater for commercial sale and/or export.”
Gibbons says all the resolutions that have been passed during the UBCM convention will be forwarded to the provincial government, including this one.
“(The UBCM) will ask the government to take action on each of those resolutions.”
He says the change won’t happen overnight, especially since reviewing all the resolutions will take some time. But in the meantime, he says he and his team will be contacting MLAs and the provincial Ministry of Environment and the Ministry of Forests, Lands, and Natural Resources.
“We’ll probably conduct a letter-writing campaign to all of those folks, showing them that there’s a lot of support in the community for this resolution to be acted on.”
“The next step will be going forward with that resolution to now ask the (provincial) government to take action on it. We’ve got all the support of the communities on Vancouver Island. They passed it at the (AVICC) convention back in April and now it’s been passed at the UBCM. Now the next step is having the provincial government take action on it, so that’s what we’ll be focusing on.”
“This is a huge win and we’ll celebrate it as a huge win. It’s a big endorsement to have all the communities at the UBCM stand behind something like this and vote in favour of it at their convention.”