Petition to the House of Commons in Parliament Assembled
We, the undersigned residents of Canada draw the attention of the House to the following:
That almost all of the community drinking watersheds on the east coast of Vancouver Island are privately owned, based on an agreement that was struck when BC joined confederation. The E&N land grant, which includes land from Campbell River to Jordan River, was partial payment to build the E&N Railway as part of the agreement for confederation.
That all of the community drinking watersheds within the E&N land grant which are under private ownership have had water quality and contamination problems related to human activity including logging, mining, landfills and other industrial and recreational activities. Watersheds in Nanaimo, Ladysmith, Port Alberni, Parksville, Courtenay, Shawnigan Lake and other communities have been affected.
That the E&N Land Grant violated treaty rights and aboriginal title.
That public ownership of community drinking watersheds, as in the case of the Capital Regional District, has allowed water districts to control all activity in the watershed and allow for the natural forest to help filter and store water and reduce drinking water treatment costs.
That clean safe drinking water is essential to life, is a human right and is fundamental to the economic wellbeing of communities and the region and the protection of community drinking water sources must supersede all other interests.
Therefore, your petitioners call upon parliament to work with the Province of British Columbia, First Nations, Municipalities, Regional Districts, and land-owners to begin a process to bring community drinking watersheds on Vancouver Island under public ownership and control and ensure they are properly protected for community drinking water purposes now and for future generations, eliminating all industrial and other activity that is not essential to the maintenance of a pristine, secure source of drinking water.