There is no vision nor much hope offered (in this Irrigation Strategy document) for the protection of PEI’s water and land. As Islanders, like the rest of the world, we face the most serious crisis in history – the climate crisis – yet, we are presented with a document that ignores the crisis and gives a ‘license’ for the continuation of an industrial model of farming controlled by very powerful corporate interests. A model of farming by all accounts that is not sustainable and is doomed – and a major contributor to the climate crisis.Continue reading “PEI Chapter of Council of Canadians Responds to Irrigation Strategy”
By Don Mazer, on behalf of the Coalition for the Protection of PEI Water
The Irrigation Strategy (IS) document is the culmination of what began as the exemplary process of public consultation that resulted the Water Act. This process reflected widespread public opposition to ending the moratorium on high capacity (HC) wells. It is ironic that the outcome of this extended process was a plan to enable the return of HC wells. It is unfortunate that this decision seemed to be based almost entirely on the will of the minister, who seemed to require little evidence, and had little interest in meaningful consultation with citizens or even his own standing committee.
The result is an ‘irrigation strategy` that offers limited opportunities for meaningful input from Islanders. This document should have been the result of a public process that engaged citizens. Rather, it was developed quietly and internally by the department and its bureaucrats and whomever they chose to consult with. This did not include our group, the Coalition for the Protection of PEI Water. Our coalition includes a broad range of environmental, watershed and socially concerned groups and individuals. From the first days, we have been deeply involved in the process of developing the Water Act, and acknowledged by a previous Minister in the legislature for its important contribution to the Act. We are concerned why a group like ours with such a longstanding commitment to PEI water would not be included in such consultations.Continue reading “Guiding Principles for an Irrigation Strategy”
By Gary Schneider, Environmental Coalition of PEI and member of the Coalition for the Protection of PEI Water
The province’s new Irrigation Strategy is a document that all water users – not just those who use irrigation in whatever form that takes – should take a long, hard look at. The development of the Water Act started out as an exemplary template for meaningful public participation. Unfortunately, over time, the process has become less and less transparent and responsive.
One way to get things back on track is to return to sound participatory processes. Any strategy is only as good as its implementation. The water governance body, an independent, arms-length, representative body to ensure proper implementation, is an idea that has been repeatedly brought forward by the Coalition for the Protection of PEI Water and other stakeholders. The Irrigation Strategy pledges that “In addition to the administration of permits being delivered by a central body, irrigation will also be overseen by a central advisory board. This board will be tasked with ensuring the continuation of strategy finds the balance between environmental protection and commercial usage. This board will consist of users, conservation groups, senior government officials and other key stakeholders.”
How do we make this body truly representative? The provincial Round Table on Resource Land Use and Stewardship had representatives from a variety of sectors – agricultural, tourism, conservation, forestry, aquaculture, municipalities, recreational fisheries, etc. This body worked together and came up with some great recommendations that have become part of our way of life. Unfortunately, many others were not fully adopted, or not adopted at all, leading to continued environmental degradation.Continue reading “A Framework for Water Governance”
Public engagement holds little traction with the current P.E.I. government
The Guardian (Charlottetown)- 26 Nov 2021
BOYD ALLEN is on the board of the Citizens’ Alliance of P.E.I., a member organization of the Coalition for the Protection of P.E.I. Water.
In May of 2016 the P.E.I. environmental advisory committee released a comprehensive report entitled: Water Act – Public consultation report. It was 58 footnoted pages long including indices and glossary. It collated findings from the first phase of public consultations on the Water Act from July 2015 to January 2016.
This process offered multiple opportunities and methods for private citizens and organizations to present their opinions. The response was extraordinary. There were 50 presentations at the various public community meetings and 12 one on one consultations between the EAC and concerned organizations. Every submission to the EAC during this time was made easily available online.Continue reading “Two steps back on P.E.I. Water Act”
Don Mazer and Boyd Allen
The Water Act Process: From exemplary public consultation to industry led policy
It took 7 years, but now Prince Edward Island finally proclaimed a Water Act. There are certainly reasons to celebrate this. The Act contains guiding values that recognize water as a common good and a public trust. There is acknowledgment of the precautionary principle and the need to preserve water for future generations. Yet, how much the Act will help to remedy the poor track record of the Government and its departments in protecting PEI’s waters remains to be seen.
The impetus for the development of the Water Act began at Legislative Standing Committee meetings in 2014. The potato processing industry was pressuring government to lift the moratorium on high capacity wells for agriculture, and many citizens and groups opposed this.Continue reading “Ending the moratorium: Credible science and comprehensive data or empty rhetoric and baseless reassurances?”
The fact that the Water Act will finally come into effect this week should be a source of celebration in Prince Edward Island. The Act contains many positive features, and in many ways reflects the values expressed by the Islanders who have over the past seven years, taken time to participate in public consultations and comment on the Act and its accompanying regulations.Continue reading “PEI’s Water Act, What’s Missing?”
Tuesday, October 2, 2018 6:00 to 8:00 pm at the PEI Farm Centre, University Ave, Charlottetown
Join East Coast Environmental Law and the Coalition for Protection of PEI Water for a discussion of the Water Act, looking forward to the release of regulations and another round of consultations.
Lisa Mitchell from ECE Law will provide an overview of the Act.
Tuesday, October 2 at 6 pm at the PEI Farm Centre
“The clearest evidence of the failure of this Act to protect in Winter River is in the creation of Municipal Water Supply Area. And most troubling of all is Section 35(b), that gives the minister the authority to permit municipalities to exceed the limits on water extraction permitted by the Act, with neither reasons, nor time limits –perhaps this will be in the regulations. In my earlier brief I talked about the impacts of big interests, like municipalities and corporations which the government would be reluctant to regulate. This is clear example of this influence.
This is a disturbing and perplexing provision. It seems to reflect how government will try to balance the human demand for water with the need for water for healthy ecosystems and fish life. It indicates a willingness to not protect some waterways if the City requires the water. Perhaps, ‘you just can’t protect them all.’ Continue reading “Don Mazer Comments on the Draft Water Act”
At the forum on water on September 23rd, 2015 at the Rodd Charlottetown hotel.
This is the final report from the LAMP forum on the water act:
(please click on link to download PDF)