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Watercraft moratorium necessary to protect infrastructure

Posted on March 28, 2024 by Ryan Dahlman

For over 100 years we have taken our waterways and irrigation infrastructure for granted. Aside from tourism and natural beauty their importance is illustrated by the fact that 4.4 per cent of Alberta’s cultivated land within irrigation districts produces 27 per cent of all agriculture products – irrigation is responsible for 46,000 full time equivalent employment positions and produces well over $5 billion to the annual provincial GDP. Alberta has billions of dollars in water irrigation infrastructure and is contemplating $900 million dollars in further investments. All of this is in peril due to invasive species which are at our borders! 

On February 14 the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce called for an immediate moratorium on all out of province watercraft, citing the zebra and quagga mussel threat. The federal government imposed a similar moratorium on Alberta’s federal parks referencing similar concerns. 

I believe we must join this moratorium (and also encourage our friends in Saskatchewan) with urgent priority. Unless we are able to provide 24 hour security at every border crossing (which we don’t have either the resources or the time) we are at great unnecessary risk. All it takes is one contaminated boat and the entire watershed is contaminated – forever – because these waterways are all interconnected and because there is no practical eradication method. Society doesn’t generally like “abrupt” but never has an issue deserved “abrupt” like this existential threat. Google Lake Winnipeg zebra mussel infestation – imagine the consequences of 3’ of rotting shell fish on the banks of our rivers and lakes. We must be proactive – to be reactive is unthinkable!

Bow River MP Martin Shields has been asked by the British Columbia conservative caucus to lead the efforts in securing western Canada – BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan united support for this moratorium! 

If you agree with this proposed course of action write letters of support to every level of government in your area – local, county, provincial and federally! Thank them for their hard work and let them know you would support this urgent course of action! 

Most sincerely,

S. Todd Beasley, Brooks

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