The Elk River, November 2017. Phil McLachlan/The Free Press

MP vies for waterway protection

On Wednesday November 29, Kootenay-Columbia Member of Parliament Wayne Stetski introduced a Private Members Bill amending the Navigation Protection Act to protect the riding’s lakes and rivers.

The Navigation Protection Act was established to help ensure the public’s safety while navigating waterways. This was achieved by regulating the construction of bridges, dams, etc. The goal was to ensure boaters can travel in non-polluted waterways, free of waste, sewage or other noxious substances.

Five years ago, the Conservative government removed some of Canada’s waterways from protection, allowing the construction of pipelines and other structures. Many of the lakes and rivers in the Kootenay-Columbia area were among those without protection. Stetski proposed things go back to the way they were. He believes the passage of this bill would protect the lakes and rivers in the region for generations to come.

“The people of Kootenay-Columbia and indeed all Canadians know how important water is to who we are as a country,” said Stetski. “By putting Kootenay-Columbia’s lakes and rivers back into the Act, we protect not only the natural environment itself, but the recreation, heritage, and economies that are dependent on free access to these resources.”

Stetski’s bill puts twelve lakes, including Columbia Lake, and twenty-one rivers, including the Flathead and Kicking Horse Rivers, under the Act’s protection.

“I am proud to play a role in protecting Kootenay-Columbia’s magnificent lakes and rivers,” he said.

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