Water Win: Clearcutting Cancelled in the Greater Vernon Community Watershed
BREAKING NEWS: Tolko Industries backed down from clearcutting in the Greater Vernon community drinking watershed. YOU did this!
Vernon-based Tolko Industries was days away from logging a cut block in the Duteau Creek watershed, 500 metres above Vernon's main water intake when a local water champion reached out to CodeBlue BC about the situation.
"We knew we wanted to help," said Coree Tull, Interim Co-Director of the Canadian Freshwater Alliance and CodeBlue BC committee member. "This is the primary freshwater source for over 50,000 people. It needs to be protected."
The team had to act fast. Working with members of the Vernon community, CodeBlue BC launched the petition on April 30th, asking Katrine Conroy, Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development, and Harwinder Sandhu, MLA Vernon-Monashee to defend Vernon's drinking watershed.
Within days, over 540 letters had been sent, and local media were picking up the story.
The outpouring of community voices worked. On May 4th, Tolko Industries backed down from logging the area, stating in a press release that they would modify their plans in light of the concerns that the logging activity could pose a risk to local water supplies.
"We're extremely happy to hear that particular area is no longer under threat," said Danielle Paydli, BC Organizer at the Canadian Freshwater Alliance and CodeBlue BC committee member. "Healthy watersheds and clean drinking water are key to BC’s prosperity and quality of life."
"But this isn't the end," she adds. "Other areas of the Great Vernon watershed are still being logged, and so are other local watersheds. It’s time for our government to give local people the power and resources to secure, restore and manage the local freshwater sources they depend on."
This is a HUGE people-powered WIN for the people of Vernon–YOU took a stand & took back local control over your critical drinking water source.
In just 3 days, almost 500 people from Vernon sent letters to MLA Sandhu and Minister Conroy, while thousands of you helped put this on the map by sharing, liking and commenting on the story.
Nobody should have to fight for clean, safe water to drink–watersheds across BC should be managed by the people closest to them, who know them best and depend on them most. But when push came to shove, you really stepped up, Vernon. Bravo. Our hats are off to you, and our little team here at CodeBlue is grateful to have been able to help.