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The Columbia Journal
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Vancouver, British Columbia,
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Columbia Journal logoVolume Nine, Number Three    May 2004    www.columbiajournal.ca

    CPP News Shorts

    Public to Get Access to Eburne Lands

    CPP News Service

    An agreement was reached earlier this month between the parks board, city council, TransLink, and the community, regarding construction of a public walkway in the Eburne lands, located west of the Arthur Lang Bridge.

    A victory for local residents, the agreement follows six months of negotiations and community pressure to improve the local environment and livability in Vancouver's park deficient neighbourhood of Marpole. The walkway will allow pedestrian and bicycle access to the Fraser River, landscaped with native plants without any concrete barrier to the water.

    The COPE parks board, city, TransLink, and community have also committed to a further visioning process, with $1million being devoted to further park acquisition in the south Vancouver area.
    Construction of the walkway will begin following consideration at a development permit board hearing scheduled for May 25.

    “COPE parks commissioners congratulate Marpole residents for the hard work raising awareness about the need for green space in their community, effectively coming to the table to represent their interests,” says Park Board member Heather Deal. “We will continue supporting processes that involve working with community in finding solutions to help build a better Vancouver.”

    P 2 Cartoon
    Lower Mainland Ecologists to Challenge SE2 NAFTA Appeal

    CPP News Service

    Two BC environmental organizations are going to court to support a National Energy Board ruling that blocked the construction of a power plant near Abbotsford.

    The Society Promoting Environmental Conservation and the David Suzuki Foundation will jointly oppose Sumas Energy 2’s appeal on the grounds that the proposed power plant poses unacceptable environmental and health risks for the Fraser Valley. The groups are being represented by Sierra Legal Defense Fund lawyer Tim Howard.

    ”Most people in BC agree this is the wrong power plant in the wrong location,” said SPEC coordinator Ivan Bulic. “In its appeal SE2 is now claiming that NAFTA overrides the power of the NEB, a Canadian agency, to protect the health and environment of British Columbia residents.”

    Earlier this month, SE 2 announced it would appeal the National Energy Board’s decision to deny the U.S. power company’s application to build a power line to the company’s proposed power plant in Sumas, Washington. The National Energy Board rejected SE2’s plan because it is too environmentally risky.

    Thousands of Fraser Valley and Whatcom County residents opposed the gas-fired power plant, which they say will dump up to three tons of hazardous pollutants a day into the Lower Fraser Valley air shed.

    ”The National Energy Board decision was a good one,” said Morag Carter, director of the Suzuki Foundation’s climate change program. “The ruling protected human health and the environment. Using NAFTA as a backdoor method to overturn the will of the National Energy Board reeks of desperation.”

    Also opposed to SE2’s appeal motion are the Province of BC, the GVRD, BC Agriculture Minister John van Dongen, the City of Abbotsford, Conservative MP Chuck Strahl and the Sto:lo First Nation.

    ”The Sumas 2 appeal does not serve the interest of Canadians,” said Sierra Legal lawyer Tim Howard. “If SE2 wins its appeal, it will seriously erode Canadian control over Canadian resources and laws.”

    West Vancouver Signs on to Pesticide Restrictions

    CPP News Service

    The West Vancouver District has become the latest lower mainland city to restrict chemical pesticides. Its council unanimously passed a motion to prepare a by-law restricting the use of non-essential cosmetic pesticides on all lawns, gardens  and public parks. At their April 26 meeting, Councillors directed staff to prepare a draft by-law for consideration by May 10.

    West Vancouver will become the fourth GVRD municipality that either has or is preparing a by-law to restrict the use of hazardous, non-essential pesticides. Vancouver, Port Moody and New Westminster have already approved education and information programs followed with by-laws that become fully effective in 2006.

    ”The residents of West Vancouver are taking the lead in protecting their health,” said SPEC Coordinator Ivan Bulic. “Council responded to the moving and impassioned appeals from many local residents for a pesticide by-law.”

    At the April 26 Council Meeting, a SPEC delegation asked Council to implement a pesticide control by-law. Liz Noble of Citizens Concerned about Pesticides submitted a 1000-name petition calling for a by-law. Another resident gave a moving account of how inadvertent pesticide exposure left her young son suffering from serious health problems.

    Some 66 municipalities across Canada already have or are in the process of implementing by-laws to control cosmetic pesticides. The need for controls was reinforced by an April 24 study by the Ontario Coalition of Family Physicians that recommended that people reduce their exposure to pesticides wherever possible.

    The Ontario study shows consistent links to serious illnesses such as cancer, reproductive problems and neurological diseases, among others. The study also shows that children are particularly vulnerable to pesticides.

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