Editor’s note: The following is an open letter to Premier Christy Clark by a B.C. resident concerned about the threat zebra and quagga mussels pose to B.C. waters, relating to the story on page A1 by Kevin Nimmock and this week’s MLA Report by Norm Macdonald.
Dear Madame Premier:
My name is Brynne Morrice. I’m a B.C.-based filmmaker, born and raised here. I love our province deeply. I love our people, I love our culture, and most of all I love the unparalleled natural beauty that defines our province.
Last summer, I learned of the imminent threat that zebra and quagga mussels pose to our province. While I sat with my family on an idyllic B.C. beach next to a sparkling lake filled with people swimming, boating and fishing, I realized that everything in front of me would be destroyed if the mussels got into B.C.
I had to do something, so I decided to make a short film. At the time, I assumed that the government of B.C. must simply be unaware of this threat, or at least unaware of its magnitude. I hoped that my film would help change this.
You can watch the five-minute film at www.protectourfreshwater.ca.
I now know that your government IS aware. However, for some reason, you have dedicated a mere $1.3 million, spread out over three years, to combat a problem that has cost over $6 billion in North America so far and has been a tragedy for every community that has faced it.
Your current action plan is entitled, “Early Detection and Rapid Response.” This is based on a glaring falsehood. In 25 years, in hundreds of lakes and rivers across North America, it has been proven again and again that ERADICATION DOES NOT EXIST. Zebra and quagga mussels, once in a lake or river, cannot be stopped. Since this is an established, well-known fact, let me ask you this: What exactly are you planning to rapidly respond with?
Prevention is the only option. Period. The only way to protect our province is to stop and inspect EVERY SINGLE BOAT that crosses our borders.
If you miss even ONE BOAT, that could be the boat that causes a catastrophe in our province.
You have said that you will continue to review the current program of 3 roving inspection teams and see if more action is needed. Time is not a luxury we have. Anytime this summer or next, a boat could easily slip past your very weak border defense and launch in our waters. Then, your only option will be to sit back and watch as the mussels inevitably spread to every lake and river in B.C.. The damage will be catastrophic, the effects permanent.
You have the power and the resources to prevent this. The people of B.C. are calling for action. This is an emergency and should be treated as such. Why do you delay?
Why are you not doing the absolute maximum to protect our province?
Is B.C. not worth it to you?