As reported in the Bulletin last week, Council had a lengthy discussion about recreation in the watersheds at their last regular meeting. The discussion was born out of concerns over a trails proposal in the Matthew Creek watershed.
Mayor Don McCormick says that while there was some level of concern over any recreation in water sheds, in his mind by far the biggest threat to Kimberley’s water quality is logging.
“Of all activity in the watersheds – Mark and Matthew – logging is the one that concerns me most. However, it is recreation that is getting the headlines these days – hiking, hunting, snowmobiling, etc. The City does not own its watersheds, which are governed by the Province. All we can do is monitor and recommend, which is the primary purpose of the Watershed Committee.
“The City has taken a zero tolerance approach to Mark Creek, which supplies the majority of water to Kimberley. There has been recreational activity in the Matthew Creek watershed as long people can remember. Changing that would be difficult.”
But McCormick says logging is of greatest concern.
He worries that continued logging activity will inevitable lead to problems that will require Kimberley’s water to be treated, and an expensive treatment plant built.
“There are a number of factors that impact our water quality,” he said. “Council’s concern is that any activity in the watershed will cumulatively decrease that quality. The turbidity we see each spring due to erosion is a reminder. We are blessed with a watershed that gives us good water, so have not needed to invest in a water treatment plant to this point”.
But that day may be coming, and McCormick wants to be on record with the province that it is the City of Kimberley’s position that since they had no ability to say no to logging in the watershed, they should not have to foot the bill for a treatment plant required because of the impacts of that logging.
“As I said earlier, I am more concerned with logging as its impact is substantial. I realize this has been communicated to the Province before, but the financial consequences to the City are severe. So I want to go on record as saying whoever has sanctioned activity that results in Kimberley needing to build a water treatment plant needs to pay for it.”
McCormick says he doesn’t expect the suggestion to get traction until Kimberley is faced with the decision.
A further note to last week’s discussion on trail building. Linda Cox from Recreation Trails BC says that, contrary to what is being claimed by some residents, the St. Mary’s Residents Association was consulted on the Bootleg trails proposal.