Tuesday, February 23, 2016

MLA calls for expanded testing of water in Northwest schools

MLA Rice returned to the theme
of lead in the water of Prince Rupert
Schools duding Question Period
at the Legislature on Monday
North Coast MLA Jennifer Rice resumed her questioning of Health Minister Terry Lake on Monday afternoon at the Legislature, picking up on her concerns over the province's approach when it comes to last weeks SD52/Northern Health advisory of lead in the water of four Prince Rupert schools.

The issue claimed much of the Legislature discussion time last week as the Opposition NDP repeatedly called for clarification from the Provincial Government over the issue.

Monday, Ms. Rice called attention to reports from Kitimat of four years ago of similar concerns with water, the MLA asked why the Health Ministry had not ordered testing of water in schools in Prince Rupert. Noting that the Ministry should consider a wider scale of testing to Haida Gwaii and the Central Coast.

I don't know what's more troubling: the fact that the minister waited four years to test the water in Prince Rupert, the fact that the minister pretended that they discovered the problem through "routine testing" or the fact that the minister says this is a common problem in older schools in northwest, and he still won't commit to testing other communities in my riding. 

Can the minister tell the House why he just doesn't seem to care about the health of other northwest communities and test the water for school children in Masset, in Skidegate or in Bella Coola?

The Health Minister outlined for the Legislature that officials from Northern Health have indicated that there is no widespread concern for the region and that when notified of the concerns mitigation measures were taken.

Mr. Lake also turned the discussion towards the need for increased infrastructure investment in the province, adding that if the Ms. Rice wanted new infrastructure for Prince Rupert, that she would actually support a growing economy in the region to enable that to happen.

You can review the full exchange from the Legislature Minutes starting at the 1410 point.

The full video of the Legislature Question period can be found here, click on the Monday afternoon listings.

For more issues and notes out of Victoria see our Legislature archive page here.

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