On the last day of the Spring 2019 session, I had the opportunity to ask the Premier about his commitment to protecting drinking water in Shawnigan Lake.
S. Furstenau: The Premier in the past represented the people of Shawnigan and over the years was a true ally in our efforts to protect our watershed. In fact, he came up to the site on numerous occasions.
As he’s well aware, we await the decision on the removal of soil. I just wanted, for the people of Shawnigan, to hear the Premier’s confirmation of his position on the protection of drinking water for communities, particularly in Shawnigan.
Hon. J. Horgan: I thank the member for Cowichan Valley for her question. She’s absolutely right. I did represent Shawnigan Lake in my first term as a member of the Legislature.
I grew up swimming in the lake as a boy. My best friend lives on the lake. I’m there regularly. I know many, many people in the broader community, not just from my time as a member of the Legislature but as a result of just living in the community. I know the member’s passion for this issue, and I know the passion of the people of Cobble Hill — and, broadly speaking, Shawnigan — about this issue.
The member knows full well that the decision-maker is the Minister of Environment. He’s deliberating over this. It has been an issue of significant public importance to the people in the region. We want to do our level best to make sure that we’re doing the right thing, not just for the people of Shawnigan but in fact for the province. The challenges, of course — the member will be well aware — are that we need to determine what the best course forward will be.
I have not been fully briefed. I know the member is in contact with the minister regularly. I get contacted from my friends regularly about their concerns. And I have to confess that I’ve been saying for six or seven years: “Don’t worry. The right thing will always happen.”
Well, that was in opposition. Now I find myself the leader of the government. I’m very much hopeful that the right thing will happen, but that will take some time, and the decision, of course, is not in my hands; it’s in the hands of the Minister of Environment.
But I know the member is passionate about this, as are the people of Shawnigan Lake, and I’m hopeful that resolution will be available soon and that all parties will have a way forward.