Arrowsmith Groundwater Alliance wants Town of Qualicum Beach to become a blue community. (PQB file photo)

Arrowsmith Groundwater Alliance wants Town of Qualicum Beach to become a blue community. (PQB file photo)

Group urges Qualicum Beach council to designate town as a ‘blue community’

Alliance says initiative has support of residents, businesses

A local group of volunteers has asked Qualicum Beach council to designate the town as a blue community.

Members of Arrowsmith Groundwater Alliance, a group concerned with aquifers in the region, proposed at council’s recent regular meeting a resolution to would make the town a blue community, joining 40 other municipalities in Canada who have participated in the initiative developed by the Council of Canadians and CUPE in 2009.

Lally Grauer of the alliance said the initiative has garnered more than 175 individuals who have signed letters of support as well as businesses that include Council of Canadians, Arrowsmith GroundWater Alliance, Arrowsmith Watersheds Coalition Society, Communities Protecting Our Coast, Sea Legacy, Qualicum Beach Residents’ Association, St. Mark’s Anglican Church, St. Stephen’s Unite Church Creation Care, Society of Organized Services and the local Canadian Federation of University Women. She also pointed out Qualicum School District 69 has committed to the Blue Community project.

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The AGA highlights the importance of protecting watersheds and sources and also promote the conservation of water.

“In Qualicum Beach we are so well-served by the municipal water system and our temperate rainforest climate that it is easy for us to take water for granted,” Grauer explained. “It is important that we address what water means to us here. Becoming a blue community means recognizing that water and sanitation are human rights worldwide. People we talked to were amazed to learn the government of Canada has not officially recognized these rights. That we should affirm them here in Qualicum was considred a no brainer.”

Some of the nunicipalities on the Island that have become blue communities include Victoria, Comox and Cumberland.

Sarah Chezick of the AGA pointed out that committing to becoming blue community also means the Town of Qualicum Beach pledges to discontinue or phase out the use of bottled water in municipal facilities and municipal events.

“People we talked to responded strongly to this aspect of the resolution,” said Chezick. “Qualicum Beach has made huge strides in the reduction of plastic waste by outlawing the use of plastic bags and straws in its 2019 bylaw. This by-law makes us proud to be citizens of Qualicum Beach.”

Chezick added there is no need to wait for provincial or federal leadership to take action.

“By stopping the sale of individually used plastic water bottles in its buildings and at its events, our accounts can continue to take the lead in reducing plastic waste and set a standard for the community,” said Chezick.

Town council received the proposal but referred the matter to staff to look at legal issues and other pertinent matters.

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