Letters: Public outweighs private

Grow ops use a lot of water, but there’s a limited source in Whonnock.

Editor, The News:

Re: Medical grow not wanted in Whonnock (The News, March 25).

Residents of Whonnock watching construction of a huge medical marijuana greenhouse in their quiet rural neighborhood finally got to present their case against it to proponent, Dan Sutton and government enablers of the grow-op.

Health Canada, the provincial ALR, and the previous council of Maple Ridge all opened doors to the facility and skipped consultation with the people most affected.

Grow ops use a lot of water, but there’s a limited source in Whonnock. It isn’t on city water. Water comes from wells drilled into an aquifer.

Health Canada, the ALR  and the last pro-development council (convenient zoning amendment) didn’t consider that, or issues of security, salmon in York Creek, noise and light pollution.

Worse yet, the proponent was encouraged to conceal the contents and scope of his project.

Nobody is allowed to know how many plants – water guzzlers – are planned or how many thousands of gallons will be sucked from the aquifer. Crazy idea; outrageous governmental manipulation.

At the meeting (I was asked to speak), I focused on a growing   issue in Canada – the historical rights of citizens to natural resources such as water, rights inscribed in the Magna Carta.

The “Great Charter of the Liberties” of 1215 asserts the rights of ordinary people over those of individual land owners, while the Public Nuisance Doctrine gives neighbors “the right of quiet enjoyment.”

Gun fire around a known grow-up location wouldn’t be quiet.

Ottawa ignores citizens rights and secretly dilutes laws to enable private enterprise (Fish Act, Species at Risk Act, Mining Act, others). In doing so, it attacks democracy at its roots.

In recent history, Teddy Roosevelt said, the rights of the public to the natural resources outweigh private rights, and must be given its first consideration.

Are our governments listening yet?

Jack Emberly

Maple Ridge