If you live on Salt Spring you have to get used to all the acronyms. If you have not heard of SSIWPA it’s because it’s new. SSIWPA stands for Salt Spring Island WaterShed Protection Authority. Today was the first meeting of the SSIWPA PAC (Public Advisory Committee).
The ideal behind SSIWPA is that it will coordinate gov agencies in the protection of the watershed and lakes of Salt Spring. SSIWPA was created by the island trust bylaw 154 for the purpose of preserving and protecting the quality and quantity of water resources within the Salt Spring Island Local Trust Area. Here is the actual bylaw; bylaw154delegationpowers.
The photo on this page actually explains how SSIWPA works. Here is a link to their web site. There is a Technical advisory committee, PAC and the steering committee. Over the next 6 months or so there will be a series of workshops that will bring solutions forward. As far as I know there will be no public involvement or public witness and or public minutes of the Technical Advisory committee. To me this is just wrong. Part of the terms of reference are to operate in an open, transparent and accountable manner. On Monday there was another meeting with the company that is paid to write the report and that meeting was not public and no minutes and or tape of the meeting have been published that I know about.
Below are the only audio tape of today’s PAC meeting. At the end of this rather long tape there is a discussion on how SSIWPA is going to communicate with the public. I thought it was rather amusing that with their 110k budget they could not spend $50 on an MP3 recorder and tape their public meeting and make it available to the public. This is why I went to the meeting is to make it available to my subscribers and keep them informed of what is happening on Salt Spring. I do not want to see a closed door solution put out the public with no public consultation and or input. My hat is off to Maxine Leichter who is on PAC and wants input and PAC not to be a rubber stamp committee. For those that do not know Maxine she is one of the driving forces of the Water Preservation Society. John Borst from the water council is another water advocate on the newly formed PAC. Along with the other volunteers I think Salt Spring is in good hands.
Here is the actual agenda package for the first PAC meeting; SSIWPA-PAC-Draft-Agenda-Package-Nov-4-2014
Part 1 at the 37:20 mark Maxine ask the coordinator (Chair) about options and will the PAC get the options on how to fix the lake. To me this is the key question of the meeting. The taxpayers want options with cost to fix the lake not just a report with one solution. Again at the 41 minute mark Maxine gets this recorded in the minutes of meeting.
Hopefully the end result will be St Mary lake will get the attention it needs and give the island various real options with cost associated to each option.
If you have any questions just send me and email.
Note to readers I’m not any of the committees.
I think SSIWPA is a good positive ideal but would like to see all the committee meeting taped and made public.