Stop the Destruction, Start the Healing


It is hard to take in the scope of destruction that has occurred in the tar sands.
The mind can't connect this toxic wasteland to the boreal forest that used to be alive here.

My mind did not make that connection until nearly a week after the Healing Walk when I wrote that line and had to stop writing for a while.  This was, I think, what a friend was looking for when she looked at me shortly after the walk and asked "So?"  I didn't have much to say at the time.

You can look at the tar sands if you don't think too much.  The tailings lakes look like water.  The white sand around them looks like nice beach.  The floating orange scare-crows are kind of amusing.  The boom of propane cannons is familiar from Fraser Valley farms.  Don't think about the smell and what you might be breathing that a dust mask does not filter.  Be thankful for the rain that keeps the dust down.

Think about statistics.  Like in 2010 per day;

1,460,000 barrels of tar sands oil produced

465,753,000 litres of water used

241,370 tonnes of greenhouse gases

Per day.  Those are big numbers.  Nearly half a billion litres of water per day contaminated and dumped into these deadly tailings lakes.  Nearly a quarter million tonnes, that's nearly a quarter billion kilograms, of greenhouse gas emissions into our atmosphere per day.  I can look at numbers like that and discuss how the atmosphere surpassed 400ppm CO2 recently or how river flows are declining in Alberta as the glaciers recede and climate change brings us the new boom and bust water cycle that smacked down Calgary and Toronto recently.  I can talk about these things and then go have supper and enjoy the drumming in the Healing Walk camp and look forward to a swim in a real lake the next morning.

Just don't think of life and the fact that this grey, stinking devastation used to be a living place with soil and plants and trees, animals and birds and people.  Don't think of complicity in the loss of life, the utter disregard for life that has occurred here.  Don't think of the radius of harm that reaches out with the weather and the water flowing past this place, taking cancer to the fish and the animals and the people who live many kilometres down river.  Don't think of how federal and provincial authorities continue to promote this foul death as the future for Canada while practising denial and obfuscation in the face of growing proof that this development is killing people in places like Fort Chipewyan.  Don't think about how this is the fastest growing source of greenhouse gas emissions in Canada, contributing to species loss occurring now at a rate unprecedented even by the mass extinction that ended the age of dinosaurs. Don't think about how this devastation is spreading back to our home towns, pushing pipelines and oil trains close to our schools, our local businesses and our home waters.

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Overhaul the BC Water Act

BC_Water_Act.jpgSo it's summer time and I know you have better things to do than write letters to politicians, but when water is so essential to our summer time fun I thought you would agree that taking one minute to help ensure we have better fresh water protection is something worthy of your time. 

Essentially we have a strategic opportunity to affect the outcome of the BC Liberals plans for the BC Water Act, but we need to act now!

We have gone through two elections where the BC Liberals have made an election promise to overhaul the highly inadequate BC Water Act. With their recent success they are drafting their priorities for the coming years. They need to hear from you that water protection is something that must make the top of their list!

As a member of our community in the Fraser Valley, it would mean a lot if you sent in a letter MLA John Martin or MLA Laurie Throness and tell them that you want to see an overhaul of the BC Water Act and ensure needed protections for our home waters.

To make it easier, we crafted a letter for you that you can send in with only a few clicks. That said, please feel free to cut, paste and adapt the text to your own language as unique letters tend to have more impact.

Thank you in advance for your time to contribute to the changes we need to see to protect our home waters as they should be so we can enjoy them today, tomorrow and for generations to come.

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Canada Day

Canadians value justice.  We think of our country as a place of democracy and evenhandedness.  We want our children to be left better off than we ourselves have been in terms not only of financial wealth, but in terms of the wealth that rests in the health of our home lands and waters, and the freedom and security of our way of life.  These shared values unite us.  Let us work together to make them real.

July 1, 2013 marks Canada's 146th birthday. Of course in 1867 the Dominion of Canada only included Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and the much smaller than present day provinces of Ontario and Quebec. The word “Dominion” in “Dominion of Canada” was inspired by Psalm 72:8 from the King James Bible and intended as a tribute to the Monarchy. Sir John A. Macdonald, who became first Prime Minister of Canada, argued for the name “Kingdom of Canada”, but did not prevail.

Canada provinces 1867-1870















Beginning in the 1850's and through the 1860s there was a movement of primarily English speaking Protestants, many of them Orangemen, to annex Rupert's Land into Canada. This movement originated in Upper Canada (later Ontario), a region so named because of its proximity to the headwaters of the Saint Lawrence River relative to Lower Canada which appears higher 'up' on our usual North-at-the-top oriented maps.  Such was the importance of waterways to travel and commerce at the time.  Promoters of Canadian expansionist ambitions saw the Red River Settlement as a potential home base from which to spread British values into the West.

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Community confirms Water Protection as top priority for future of Chilliwack


 It’s been 4 months since our team at the WaterWealth Project opened the office doors with the vision of seeing better water protection through more community control in the Fraser Valley. So in reading the conclusions of the City of Chilliwack’s Official Community Plan Community Survey, which had nearly 500 respondents, it was like a drink of ice cold unchlorinated water on a hot summer day -- invigorating and refreshing.


The outcomes showed that 97% of residents want to see the "protection of drinking water and local streams" as a top priority in the plan for city growth, affirming the community pride we've encountered first hand through our work on the ground as we've been connecting with thousands of local residents. Growing up in the region I didn’t realize how lucky I was to have such clean, pure, home waters teeming with life and productivity. Now with the opportunity to contribute to the community plan for growth in the region I am encouraged to see that I am not alone in a vision to protect the rivers, lakes and streams that provide us all with so much.


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On the 40th BC Election -- WaterWealth

The WaterWealth Project would like to congratulate Laurie Throness & John Martin for their successful election in the ridings of Chilliwack-Hope and Chilliwack. We look forward to working with them as they fulfill their responsibility to protect the home waters that sustain our communities' prosperity. We also look forward to continuing to work with other local residents to support long-term fresh water protection.

In a mere 4 weeks, nearly 2000 people signed the WaterWealth Declaration. Signatories call for local control over decisions that impact our home waters. They voice an urgent need to protect our home waters and drinking water from threats, including permanent chlorination, the Kinder Morgan pipeline, and private run of the river hydro projects. We look forward to continuing to build support to ensure our political representatives respond to the needs of their constituents and uphold respect for Aboriginal rights & title.

The Liberal government made a pre-election commitment to modernize the Water Act in 2014, and we look forward to stronger water protection legislation. Public opinion polls have shown that over 86% of British Columbians believe that fresh water is important to prosperity and quality of life. Our work in the Fraser Valley has reinforced the conclusions of these polls, and we have generated a swell of support and enthusiasm for our work. Yet voter turnout was alarmingly low, with rates of 52% in Chilliwack and 54% in Chilliwack-Hope. The WaterWealth project is looking forward to inspiring more Fraser Valley residents to vote on election days to come.

Many important decisions that impact our home waters are on the table over the course of the next four years, and we are committed to working to ensure that our home rivers, lakes and streams receive the protection they deserve. We invite more of our community to join us.

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Communities want to tap into water decisions

Leading up to the BC Election the WaterWealth Project has been going full steam ahead to garner support for better fresh water protection through 100% community control and the right to say yes or no to decisions that impact on our home waters.

Some fair questions were raised about what we meant when we made the ask for 100% community control, so I paired up with Parker Jefferson of One Cowichan to craft this opinion piece that was picked up by the Vancouver Sun. Take a moment to read it through and hopefully it helps to answer any questions you might have about what community control could look like for us in the Valley.

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We couldn't do it without you

It’s National Volunteer Week, April 21-27 and at the WaterWealth Project we know we couldn't do it with out you! 

waterjump.jpgGiven the spirit of the week, we wanted to extend a big thank-you to the many volunteers who have come out to support The WaterWealth Project! 

Ever since the WaterWealth kick-off, volunteers have been essential to our many successes along the way – from BBQing at our launch party, blasting our messages around on social media, to putting their boots on the ground with our the door-to-door declaration blitzes.  

We’ve also had a great show of volunteer support at community events & community tabling to ensure WaterWealth was present at the many Earth Day celebrations within the Fraser Valley. To date we have 116 individuals who have said “Yes” to volunteering with us.

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You Spoke, We Listened

StoryMapping.jpgFor the past few weeks the team at the WaterWealth Project has been out on the streets and buzzing online to gather your perspectives in our community survey and story map.

We’ve talked to hundreds of students, seniors, mothers, fishermen and business owners. We wanted to hear from you about your favourite watering holes, fishing spots and cherished memories of time on, in or near our fabulous rivers, lakes and streams. We also wanted to hear about changes you’ve observed to our water and the concerns you have for its future, and what you think needs to be done to protect it.

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Canada water week generates a flood of support for water


Last week, The WaterWealth Project hosted a number of initiatives for Canada Water Week. We had more than 400 residents from the Fraser Valley fill in our survey and partake in our film showings and Hope celebration event.

Whether it was during post-film discussions, or in conversations about water at the University of the Fraser Valley campus, or over a plate of bannock and stew at the Hope Station, the message was sent loud and clear that people in the Canyon and the Valley care about our home waters!

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A Second Eden

A Blog Posting by WaterWealth Community Advisor Larry Commodore

At the March 2Larry Commodore launch of the WaterWealth campaign, I had the honour to say a few words to the nearly 100 persons who responded to our invitation. Below is an expanded version of the brief talk I gave that day. You can watch the video courtesy of Chris Gadsden here.

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