LETTERS: Fishy decision over water

Editor:

Re: Chloramine plan abandoned, Jan. 13.

Editor:

Re: Chloramine plan abandoned, Jan. 13.

Democracy alive in White Rock?

I was delighted and pleased to see so many in attendance at the White Rock city council meeting last week. It is a credit to the citizens of White Rock, mayor and council and to city staff that this meeting was conducted in concert with long-held venerable principles of Canadian democracy.

As a result of this meeting, several facts surfaced, which while known by some, were no doubt news to others. Of note was the fact that while the incident precipitating water treatment had occurred in 2010, this was the first meeting of this kind where all could hear facts from the experts. While the choice of chlorine or chloramine as a disinfectant was the central issue for discussion, levels of arsenic and manganese loomed as perhaps the first topic that needed some attention.

Mayor Wayne Baldwin acknowledged the presence of our neighbour First Nations community at the meeting and the city’s lack of involvement with this community in any discussions on water. He described the behaviour of the city toward First Nations as disrespectful. It is my view that lack of this type of dialogue with all affected citizens is equally disrespectful.

In the case at hand, where the quality of White Rock water hangs in the balance, council has decided to ask for additional time to review the options and finalize some plan of action. It remains to be seen what form of public education and dialogue ensues with more respect, at least for First Nations.

I was not heartened to hear the mayor suggest that we would be drinking the water with whatever Epcor decided to add to it if the city had not purchased the utility. I believe it was and remains the responsibility of city staff, council and the mayor to have initiated a dialogue long before this month with regards to the condition of water, regardless of how it was delivered or by whom.

To assume otherwise is to assume that citizens, without thought or response, should simply “drink the Kool-Aid” as it has been delivered.

I, for one, am hopeful, based on Monday’s meeting that the future will lead to increased transparency and dialogue from those who hold public positions of trust in White Rock and that democracy is alive and well in our community.

Eric Ross, White Rock

• • •

So Mayor Wayne Baldwin and his White Rock Coalition cronies have backed down on adding chloramine to White Rock’s water.

I am amazed. Perhaps our council is finally getting the message that the opinions of White Rock’s residents matter. On the other hand, I would not hold my breath.

This is a council that clearcut ‘the hump’ – or, as my husband calls it, ‘the stump’ – and made White Rock Canada’s garbage-truck city.

What really bothers me is Baldwin’s nasty responses when things don’t go his way.

After the chloramine vote, he maintained that if the city had not taken over the water supply residents would “be drinking chloraminated water and not know it.”

He boasts that council is going through a public process. I believe residents have forced the council to go through a public process.  Our council doesn’t ever seem to endorse transparency unless really pressed.

Later, our mayor, who still seems upset he did not get his way and who is being criticized for the purchase of the water supply in the first place, goes so far to say people “have simplistic notions”, (Water system better than ever: Baldwin, Jan. 15).

I have read some well-written anti-chloramine letters recently. I also think that when the true cost of the purchase of Epcor comes out, residents will realize it is the mayor who has been simplistic.

It is the job of a mayor to listen to his residents and show leadership. Our mayor does neither.

Susan Ellis, White Rock

• • •

My heartfelt thanks to all the fishes in the area for your ongoing contribution to our battle against chloramine in the drinking water.

Sure, the welfare of our aquatic life seems more important to Mayor Wayne Baldwin than the welfare of, well, you and me, but I’ll take what I can get. It’s an upside-down world.

At least a fish is a few steps up from a plumbing fixture. Being less valuable than a water pipe was a little hard to take.

Maureen Kerr, Surrey