Lessons Not Learned
ADDRESS TO SURREY COUNCIL PUBLIC HEARING JULY 26 2021
Recent reports tells us that several Vancouver restaurant owners decided to remove wild salmon from their menus to protest overfishing.
Unfortunately, prohibiting wild salmon fishing 100% in BC will not solve our current salmon situation. Several of our fish species will very likely follow certain east coast cod species into the dustbin of history because the number one problem, well understood by stewards throughout the province and confirmed by provincial and federal studies, is habitat loss.
Years ago Surrey Councillor Judy Higginbotham said to my face: "Surrey government has learned the hard way, through the mistakes we have made in the Nicomekl and Serpentine watersheds, that we cannot develop in the Little Campbell Watershed making the same mistakes without seeing the same results."
At this point that lesson seems to have been forgotten because executing this proposal would be one of those mistakes; and a big one. The initial phase of Campbell Heights produced what John Werring of the David Suzuki Foundation called one of the worst examples of habitat destruction he had ever monitored. Any Surrey resident believing that said damage has been properly compensated for as part of that development is simply being misinformed.
Today the Serpentine, Nicomekl, and Little Campbell Rivers are all in palliative care and ONLY the Little Campbell offers a tiny ray of hope that we might have ONE functioning salmon river in Surrey when 2050 comes around. The river has been telling us that for decades but we have stopped listening.
In my letters to Council of July 12, 2017 and June of this year I did everything I could to make clear that no proper environmental assessment of all habitat and aquifer issues has been done by the City of Surrey and that the Madrone Study is de facto an information gap study, a signpost about all we DO NOT KNOW about this area.
The Lower Mainland is due an urban national park (see our proposal here), South Surrey needs more municipal and regional park space. We need to be talking about a multi jurisdictional greenspace in this area. It’s a complete fallacy that riparian setbacks alone can save the biological assets of a watershed. If this plan goes ahead we are most definitely going to end any possibility of leaving as legacy the benefits of the amazing pocket river that could form part of our national heritage and oft alluded to reconciliation.
Dave Riley, Chair
Little Campbell Watershed Society
c/o LCWS, 1284 184 St., Surrey, BC, V3S 9R9