WATER – A MAJOR PUBLIC ISSUE

We have written songs about it, named movies after it, use it in general daily conversation, it is water of course. And now water is about to become a major public issue in Western Canada. There are no substitutes for water. We can?t create or re-create it, we can?t imitate it and it is the one thing we can?t live without.

The opening event in the ?Be a Tourist in Your Own Town? week took place at the Public Library on Tuesday night. Guest speaker Bob Sanford gave a beautiful talk to those in attendance. I for one was enthralled with the beauty of his words. Yet his words also held a warning for all Canadians, ?Without abundant water, Canada will become a very different nation.? Currently the Saskatchewan River is running at 20% of its historic rate. This is just one of many signs that water is becoming a natural resource that we need to work to conserve. ?Canadians across the country have used the United Nations International Year of Fresh Water and the Wonder of Water initiative as a foundation for reaffirmation of the importance of water to our way of life,? says Sanford.

Just think of the role of water in our everyday lives, it goes way beyond drinking. Our electricity, our vehicles, the plants we eat, the clothing that we wear are all available to us because of water. Do we understand the value of water? Some people must, they currently pay more for a bottle of water than they do for a litre of gasoline.

Tourists, Sanford said, come to Canada for the water: our rushing rivers and sparkling lakes, our waterfalls, breathtaking glaciers, streams, snow and ice. Tourism requires a lot of water. ?Water in its natural state will attract tourists,? said Sanford. Just think of the water that is required for the tourist industry. Even tourist attractions that aren?t water based require water, for instance even attractions such as golf courses require irrigation.

?Think about how water defines us as a people and how our landscapes and way of life are shaped by what water is and what water does? comments Sanford, ?As water becomes more precious everywhere in the world, we will all have to reassess its importance to our lives.?

This was an awesome kick off to an event filled week. ?I?m excited about this week,? said Ray Proulx, Economic Development Officer, ?because we have an occasion to rediscover ourselves as a community and the things we enjoy about our daily lives that we sometimes take for granted. These are the things that visitors to Tumbler Ridge admire. If we can get people excited and enthusiastic about Tumbler Ridge, it will be infectious and translate to a variety of social and economic benefits for the town?.