Bob Broughton's Blog about British Columbia politics

Barisoff turns "lodges for high rollers" into "modest hostels"

A letter to the editor I wrote, which was published in the Royal City Record on March 19, attracted a response (published March 30) from Bill Barisoff, Joyce Murray's successor as Minister of Water, Land, and Air Protection. You can read Barisoff's letter by clicking here (PDF); my original letter appears below.

Barisoff wrote that I "couldn't be more wrong". Well, Bill, I have to go with the information I have available, supplemented by common sense. This is the first time that I (or anyone else) have heard the words "modest hostels" used in connection with the Liberal initiative to put lodges in provincial parks.

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More about fish farming

I've lost track of the number of letters to the editor I've written about provincial issues that have been published over the last five years. Here's the latest one, which was published in the Royal City Record on May 11:

Editor, The Record;

In "More about fish farming" (May 7), incumbent New Westminster MLA Joyce Murray accuses the Record of misleading the reader. Actually, Murray's article provides ample reinforcement for those who have no confidence in Murray's former Water, Land, and Air Protection portfolio.

She refers to "confusing and inconclusive research on this issue". There's nothing at all confusing or inconclusive about the study published in the March 30 edition of Proceedings of the Royal Society B. This was a peer-reviewed study, and it concluded that sea lice production from the farm they studied was four orders of magnitude higher than natural, and that infection of wild juvenile salmon was 73 times higher than ambient levels near the farm and exceeded ambient levels for 30 kilometers of the wild migration route.

As for Murray's claim that her government "put in place one of the most comprehensive aquaculture regulatory regimes in the world", the real story is that Norway and Scotland do not allow open-net cage salmon farms to be located near wild salmon migration routes. And next door Alaska has an even stricter regulatory regime; they don't allow salmon farms at all. Instead, they have taken steps to protect and enhance their wild salmon fishery, and that's what we should be doing here.

Robert Broughton
Green Party Candidate
New Westminster

They didn't tear Saint Mary's Hospital down fast enough

I was out on the 200 block of Royal Avenue on Wednesday afternoon, with a group of volunteers. We were waving signs that said, "the Liberals closed Saint Mary's Hospital".

If the reaction we got from the passers-by is any indication, the Liberal strategy, which is, everyone would have forgotten about the Saint Mary's closure by now, has failed.

It's also worth mentioning that during the April 25 all candidates meeting at the Burr Theatre, I said, "I'm surprised that the Saint Mary's closure hasn't come up more often tonight." The response I heard from the Liberals sitting in the front rows was, "we're sick of hearing about it".

Well, it's very inconvenient for these people that the demolition of Saint Mary's Hospital is under way right in the middle of the election campaign, and that the location is next to a very busy street.

Just to reinforce this inconvenient reminder further, there was a front-page story in the May 4 News Leader with the headline, "Saint Mary's plan on hold." The first sentence of the article reads, "The former Saint Mary's Hospital is coming down to make way for - nothing, at least in the near future."

The substance of the story is that Embassy Developments has taken their plans for the site back to the drawing board, and they won't have a proposal available for another year.

Well, if Embassy Developments is uncertain about what they should do with this property, here's a friendly suggestion; put a health care facility on it.