Letter: Local government needs to muscle in on mussels

It seems the federal government is dragging its feet when it comes to coughing up some dough

Alberta incidentally saved B.C.’s butt last year when a mussel infested boat was headed to the Shuswap.

It had successfully passed through a Montana border crossing and was caught by one of Alberta’s three sniffer dogs before it reached B.C.

It seems the federal government is dragging its feet when it comes to coughing up some dough to help prevent an invasive mussel problem in B.C. (Penticton Western News, Feb, 7, Ottawa asked to commit to mussel prevention). Members of the Okanagan Basin Water Board are again asking the federal government to speed up some monetary assistance.

Government can be as slow as molasses when it comes to the distribution of money. If we go through another season without adequate protection it will be a miracle if we remain mussel free. So what can we do?

Well, Penticton council could get organized and present a viable plan at Southern Interior Local Government Association when they get together to present their annual resolutions to be presented at the annual UBCM. But more importantly they can act on their own. Ask SILGA to relegate a half a day to this problem and come up with a workable solution to control our watershed area. They should invite relevant ministers and federal MPs and provincial MLAs to attend this meeting.

Here are some ideas:

— All boats must be registered and a sticker placed on their windshield saying they have been cleared of mussels. Boaters should be discouraged from taking their boats out of province. This would be an annual pass that would have to be renewed each year. Needless to say it would be expected to be self paying.

— According to an Alberta spokesperson, it costs $25,000 to train a dog and their handler versus the estimate to mitigate an invasive mussel infestation would be $75 million annually.

— Marinas must oversee the requirement for stickers at their boat launches. All public boat launches that are unmanned must be closed until a solution is found to deal with them. Expecting boaters to self inspect when trained boarder guards miss infestations is unacceptable.

Sounds drastic, I know, but unless adequate protection is taken, you can say goodbye to our tourist industry. No one wants to visit a mussel infested lake. No taxpayer wants to pay millions annually to clean the mussels off of water intake pipes that we use to supply us with the daily water we use.

Elvena Slump


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