Wednesday, March 2, 2016

In Committee Session, North Coast MLA raises three questions on environmental concerns

North Coast MLA Jennifer Rice
had a list of questions at the ready
for a committee session Tuesday
Beyond the daily proceedings of the House and the at times controversial Question Period sessions, MLA's also attend Committee meetings, bringing questions to the Ministers responsible that may require a bit more review or are of key interest to residents of their riding.

On Tuesday, North Coast MLA Jennifer Rice had three questions for a Committee of Supply Session featuring the Minister of Environment, addressing her notes for Minister Mary Polak during an afternoon Committee session at the Legislature.

Among her concerns, issues related to the Clean Up of Banks Island with Ms. Rice seeking an update on the mechanism in place to clean up the site and who will bear the costs for the clean up.

In reply, the Environment Minister noted that the pace of the clean up has stopped at the moment, as the company has entered into bankruptcy proceedings, with an area First Nation having appointed a caretaker to monitor  conditions and ensure for security.

As for the costs, the amount is not known at this point, with the Minister noting that the province will be pursuing those costs with the company as the bankruptcy proceedings unfold.

Ms. Rice moved on to a second question on the status of the Clean up plan for a site at Namu on the Central Coast, which had been suffering from a derelict vessel and pollution concerns related to it.

Environment Minister Mary Polak
addresses a number of questions from
North Coast MLA Jennifer Rice
during a committee session Tuesday
The Environment Minister outlined that the site is no longer considered a high risk situation explaining how the vessel in question had been removed and containment measures put in place to address the issues related to that incident.

Adding that the province continues to hold discussions with the Heiltsuk First Nation to develop that area for their future.

The third issue raised by the North Coast MLA involved A Review of the Simushir incident of 2014 off the coast of Haida Gwaii, with Ms. Rice asking what the province may have learned from those events and what mechanisms may have been put in place to avoid such incidents in the future.

Ms. Polak outlined the nature of discussions held with the Haida to determine what kind of assets may be required in the region to prepare for any contingency or to ensure that such a situation does not happen again.

As well, she advised that the province is looking at a broader marine spill response capacity for coastal areas and she also noted that the Province has received positive reaction from the Federal Government  on issues related to marine concerns, noting a strong sense of collaboration  on issues.

From that positive engagement with the Federal Government, the provincial Environment Minister hinted that she hopes to have an announcement on further action soon.

You can review the full Committee Session from the Legislature minutes here, Ms. Rice's line of questions starts at the 17:25 point.

The Video presentation from the Tuesday afternoon session can be found on the Index Page of Tuesday's Legislature activities.

For more items related to the work of the North Coast MLA at the Legislature see our archive page here.

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