In response to letter to the editor: Mink Farm in the Elk Valley (November 7, 2013)

Elk Valley resident comments on the mink farm north of Sparwood

One only needs to research this issue, to find (numerous articles and studies)  that Nova Scotia and  the United States have had waterways and lakes contaminated with blue-green algae and through various scientific studies, have contributed this to mink farm operations in the area. Are they the only source of blue-green algae in the world, no.

But it’s been established that the concentration of waste, of these operations, have led to water contamination.

The property in question, in the Elk Valley, is especially sensitive, as Nordstrum Creek runs directly through it and continues downstream into the Elk River. With rains, snow melt and winter run-off it is not hard to imagine where the waste product of thousands of mink annually may end up. Nordstrum Creek provides drinking and irrigation water to several license holders downstream.

I am  curious, would one feel different if they lived downstream and had their clean water potentially threatened?

Especially troubling is the assertion  that, as we live in the ALR, we should accept any development provided it has “farm” in the title, with open arms.

Why should we do that? Is it not our obligation to look after the environment and the possible wildlife implications for other outdoor enthusiasts, locals, tourists and future generations?

Several years ago, attributed in part  to agriculture interaction, we had a very high mortality of Big Horn Sheep and changes were enacted to mitigate the reoccurrence of the factors that lead to this.

Before allowing any type of “fur farm” (which is new to the Elk Valley) the environmental and wildlife impacts should always be investigated beforehand.

A learned and evolved approach is to gather information  from other jurisdictions as to the issues that they have encountered.If found to be detrimental to soil, surface and ground water contamination and our very unique wildlife of the area, then solutions must be found prior to allowing it to proceed. Responsible land owners value the environment.

Equally confusing is the statement where they are “disappointed” where Mike Sosnowski and Bill Bennett are concerned. It is the responsibility of both the local and provincial government to ensure that the environmental issues and the concerns of all the residents of this rural areas are addressed and that appropriate regulations are in place to prevent issues.

After all, we live in the Wilderness Capital of BC and those of us that are concerned, have a deep appreciation and respect for our  region, neighbours and habitat.

Diana Plessis

RDEK – Area A (Sparwood North)

 

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