Kimberley City Council has voted to table a discussion about a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with BC Timber Sales regarding the water quality in Kimberley’s watershed.
At a regular Council meeting on Monday, Council voted to postpone their decision to allow for a more lengthy discussion at an upcoming Committee of the Whole Meeting.
The motion that Council was considering was for the City to renew a five year MOU with BC Timber Sales that would see the logging company and the City working together to monitor the quality of water in Kimberley’s Mark Creek Watershed.
Manager of Operations Chris Mummery explained in a report to Council that City residents and officials are concerned about the effects that logging has on drinking water quality in the watershed.
“Of particular concern is the quantity and quality of the water, and the possibility that logging in the watershed may cause some negative affects, which could lead to significant expenses on the part of the community,” wrote Mummery.
Currently, Mummery says, BC Timber Sales pays for 50 per cent of the costs associated with water quality monitoring. The previous agreement expired in September of 2018.
“BCTS is committed to ensuring that water quality and quantity are not adversely affected by forestry operations conducted in Mark Creek, and that forestry operations do not impose an additional expense on the City of Kimberley,” Mummery wrote.
Mayor Don McCormick says that it’s important to maintain the integrity of the watershed and ensure clean drinking water for the long term.
“This one of the things that you always want incremental improvement on and this is our opportunity to have a much broader discussion about both the issues and opportunities with this,” said McCormick.
Councillor Kent Goodwin says he’s in favour of the MOU and that it’s “critical” for the City to maintain proper filtration in the watershed.
“We have a process in place that is looking at source protection…” said Goodwin. “We have a very good committee and a lot of expertise built over 20 years or more.”
He adds that it would be beneficial to have both a consultant and city staff present at the COW meeting to ensure a fact-based discussion.
Councillor Darryl Oakley says he is looking towards the prospect of “ecological sustainability” in the watershed.
“The purpose, in my mind, is to now have a fairly lengthy discussion about doing something that will never have been done before in the watershed, and that is to pursue ecological sustainability and to define what ecological integrity is,” said Oakley. “This is our chance to have a more definitive say in what is so important to our City.”