General News · 16th September 2017
I write this partly in response to past postings about the Gorge Harbour, and partly because I’m tired of the ongoing shaming of our community members.
I wish that we could stop pointing fingers at one another and start really working together towards viable, productive solutions. Continually bringing up the past will never allow us to move forward into the future. Throttling someone with guilt will eliminate any desire for them to comply or be helpful. There is a tremendous variation of interpretation as to what has and hasn't been agreed to, and what an agreement is. An agreement is not legally binding, and shellfish aquaculture is under the jurisdiction of three levels of government, making management slow, difficult, and unlikely. Our best solution is to work cooperatively and respectfully as a community.
The Stakeholders meeting has been in existence for not quite one year. We've had two meetings. A surprising amount has been learned and shared during these meetings. Sadly, this does not precipitate immediately into obvious action, but it is creating a venue for respect, understanding, and cooperative action. This is an approach much more towards Cortes' character. Island Sea Farms is not Island Timberlands. Yes, there is noise and they are cooperatively working on this at tremendous expense that they have to explain to their board members and stakeholders. As we lob all of these attacks on them, let me just ask for those complaining to look at their own pensions, stocks and investments and for them to consider what cut they're willing to take in their retirement income for peace in the communities that those industries are impacting elsewhere. Complaining is easy. Viable solutions are not.
At this moment in time, Island Sea Farms wants to do the right thing. I say let's help them to do so not by throwing the past in their faces, but by providing constructive and supportive feedback.
We have many other growers on the harbour who are tired of being the villain. And they're not. For those who haven't been out to the rafts and haven't seen what's growing down there, you should take a look at Mike Moore's underwater video. It's truly spectacular. We are now seeing porpoises, orcas and even humpbacks coming to the bay to feed. Wow. What prolific waters.
For those who doubt the science, Barry had one of his graduate students come and talk a few years back. Her prior project had been investigating the environmental impact of mussel farms in New Zealand. The transformation of the study area was remarkable. It had been fairly barren. Once the farm was established, marine succession peaked when dolphins would come in regularly.
I ask that those who have complaints, please lodge them with Island Sea Farms, you can cc: me if you wish. But cooperation is only seen through respect, not through personal slander and spreading of misinformation.
And as for our local growers and employees of the industry - you should be proud of what you do. You help to support our local businesses. Of all the forms of food production, yours is unquestionably one of the most sustainable.
Give peace a chance
Comment by Amanda on 1st October 2017
Thanks Mike for attaching the link.
It's fascinating to see the comments and responses to this posting.
I'm merely asking people to work together cooperatively instead of attacking one another. The irony of how people have responded is fascinating.
I don't claim to be an industry supporter - but I do believe in giving people a chance to make things right. Perhaps corporations and industries are not "people" but they are run by people.
If we don't give them an avenue for change by offering a moment of respect, we cannot expect to see them want to invest in our communities by making the improvements we request.
Comment by Aaron O'Connor on 18th September 2017
Dear Author and Readers,
Some points for consideration re. the article “Respect on the Gorge” published September 16th, 2017:
Firstly, a for-profit corporation is not ‘someone’ in the community, it is something.
In this case, that something is a known and admitted polluter (noise, chemical and detritus) and is often observed to be operating outside the law.
Fact: employees of the corporation(s) in question are not at fault. It is the operating entity that is solely and ultimately responsible.
Members of this community that are affected by an industrial pollution problem, and its lack of management, are requesting justice (through action). This is a citizens’ right, and that right is immune to coercion or economy. And if anyone is denied that right it may be reinstated within the structure of our justice system—precisely the reason the justice system is in place.
And, Author, please know, there are those that are taken aback with your assumption that all Gorge/ Cortes residents rely on a stock portfolios that are invested in corporate wrongdoing. It is a false statement. And, in any case, profit is not a justification for a breach of the law. Your article seems to suggest that it is.
And further, to state that science shows a healthier environment as a result of industrial aquaculture in Gorge Harbour is imprudent. Presently there has not been adequate research performed to make any such claim here. However, the ongoing polluting of the Gorge has been acknowledged by the prime culprit and that corporation is not stating otherwise or making claims of environmental benefits. They are simply stating that they cannot afford to solve the problem while maintaining profits.
The problems of industrial fallout that we face here in this community are common elsewhere.
The solution is universal.
There are fine examples, world-wide, of cohesive communities that have forced violating corporations and lax governments into compliance of existing law (or improving existing law) for the betterment of the environment. That has been achieved by putting the environment first—and retaining a very good lawyer to ensure that it is the law being addressed, not individual egos.
There are, also, endless examples of divided communities, locked in discourse (and discord) that through lack of action enable polluters to continue violations with impunity.
A further few points for this publication and the Author to consider: to state that industrial aquaculture is unquestionably one of the most sustainable forms of food production, especially in this context, is subjective and misleading at best. An untruth.
And, surprisingly, the linked-to article of support states that the dumped plastics accumulating on the floor of the Gorge are ‘probably’ inert. This is incorrect, irresponsible really, and not at all science.
To solve this pollution problem, if you wish, unite, then lawyer up, step aside and let the law mediate. The violators will comply quickly and all will be better (really!).
Comment by Mike Moore on 16th September 2017
Here's the link to the article and video that Amanda refers to; http://www.cortesisland.com/cgi-bin/tideline/show_articles.cgi?ID=9015&TOPIC=0