A local environmentalist took would-be city councillors in Maple Ridge on an environmentalist’s tour of the city.
Jack Emberly didn’t get the politicians in canoes, but he did show them many of the challenged waterways that city hall will be dealing with, if they are successful in the Oct. 15 election.
Emberly is a former educator, was a longtime Maple Ridge News columnist, and is now producing videos about environmental issues. He underlined two main problems he sees impacting the North and South Alouette Rivers, and their tributaries.
One is a lack of enforcement of environmental regulations that should protect the city’s waterways.
“Senior governments responsible for enforcement off environmental laws are not doing their jobs,” he said.
He took the tour past a motorboat that is mostly submerged in Blaney Creek – a salmon-bearing stream. The craft has been abandoned for about five years.
“Our streams are not being protected, and we have some of the best for fish and habitat,” opined Emberly.
The other main main topic was flooding, and the potential for disaster.
The tour spoke to Barry Lyster, one of a group of concerned citizens called the Alouette Valley Association, who have lobbied city hall for flood protection along the North Alouette. They say issues such as log jams, gravel build-up, small culverts and other issues cause floods. They have also asked city hall for better communication during flooding events.
Along for the ride were the members of the slate A Better Maple Ridge, which is made up of mayoral candidate Dan Ruimy, and council candidates Korleen Carreras, Sunny Schiller, Onyeka Dozie and Jenny Tan.
Ruimy is a former MP and had seen the troubled spots along the North and South Alouette Rivers in the past, but thought it was important for his entire team to take the tour.
They saw an abandoned boat in the waterway, and places where vegetation choked the channel.
“You have to see first-hand what people are talking about, and Jack has a lot of knowledge, because that’s his passion,” said Ruimy. “You have to see it – that’s the powerful part.”
Emberly said city councillors should “know their domain,” but he also wanted to see safeguarding waterways, and flood protection, as an election issue.
“I want to see them bring these issues up in their debates.”
Emberly said he has extended the invitation to all the city council candidates.
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