Community calls for protection of Saanich Inlet ecosystem

Elizabeth May, Leader of the Green Party of Canada and MP for Saanich–Gulf Islands, today tabled a petition on behalf of the Saanich Inlet Protection Society in the House of Commons calling for the environmental protection status of the Saanich Inlet to be elevated. Signed by over 1600 local residents, the petition asks that the Saanich Inlet be added to the list of designated zones where the discharge of raw sewage is not allowed.

“This is a globally unique ecosystem, and one that is simply too fragile to sustain this kind of contamination,” said Ms. May. “We have clearly fulfilled all the requirements for the Saanich Inlet to become a designated No Discharge Zone, now we need a commitment from the federal government to resolve this issue once and for all.”

The petition has received support from the Municipal Districts of Central and North Saanich, the Cowichan Valley Regional District, the Peninsula Streams Society, the Tseycum Saanich First Nation, the Willis Point Community Association, Gary Holman, MLA for Saanich North and Islands, and Randall Garrison, MP for Esquimalt – Juan de Fuca.

“It is critical to increase Saanich Inlet’s level of environmental protection to ensure that this unique and cherished waterway can continue to be enjoyed by local communities and visiting recreational users alike,” said Ms. May in a letter submitted today to Environment Minister Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans Gail Shea and Transport Minister Lisa Raitt.

The letter quotes a 1996 report from the BC Ministry of the Environment, Lands and Park stating that Saanich Inlet “is an important and sensitive ecosystem – physically, ecologically and culturally … world renowned for its beauty …is highly valued by humans and supports important cultural and recreational uses.”

“My constituents are deeply concerned that there be no further delay on this issue,” concluded Ms. May. “The Saanich Inlet is too important an ecosystem to leave unprotected any longer.”