Dear Shawnigan

A few nights ago I posted on Facebook about the weariness that we all feel – the weariness that comes from having to fight so hard and so long for something that we should all be able to take for granted.

What I wrote that evening, I will repeat now.

I ask only this: do not relent, do not be worn down by the words or actions of the government or the company, and do not think for one moment that we will not win this battle. We are standing up for our water, our future, our children, our grandchildren, and our community. We are standing up for what most Canadians never have to think twice about – water coming out of our taps that does not have the potential to harm us. We are on the side of what is right and ours is a just cause. Stand together, Shawnigan. Stand strong, and stand for as long as it takes to be heard by those who need to hear us, and who need to listen. I will always be standing with you.

Wednesday night, the company was put on notice by the Ministry of Environment. They were put on notice because “concerns are raised regarding the Permitee’s ability to ensure effective operation of the authorized works or to manage suspected unauthorized discharge in accordance with the Permit.”

Letter can be found here:  http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/epd/regions/vanc_island/env-mgt/pdf/letter-to-chh-re-compliance-issues.pdf

Do not celebrate yet. This is a hopeful and heartening step, but until it is acted upon – until the permit is suspended – this is a letter, like so many letters this company has received since it started operating eight long years ago. And a letter is nothing until it is acted on.

It is still up to us to maintain pressure, to maintain vigilance, and to maintain our determination. We need to keep showing up, and delivering the very clear message: we have never, and will never, accept this risk. We will fight until this risk is removed from our watershed.

If the Ministry of Environment and the Ministry of Mines won’t hold this company accountable, we will. We will be there every day, watching, learning, documenting what is going on – because it’s OUR water, it’s OUR health, it’s OUR community that we are looking out for, and if this company and this government think for one second that we will idly stand by and let this happen, they are sorely mistaken.

So, Shawnigan – my message remains the same as it was almost exactly eight months ago when the EAB released its misguided ruling: stand up and stand together. And I will always stand with you.