Kelowna, B.C. – After returning hopeful from a June 2017 meeting in Ottawa regarding invasive mussel prevention, the Okanagan Basin Water Board (OBWB) is tired of waiting for a response. This week, eight months after that meeting and with another boating season around the corner, the board sent a follow-up letter on the “urgent need for federal action.”
“We are disheartened that the federal government hasn’t made this a priority in our area. We have had no follow up communication, or commitment, on how they would contain the mussels in regions already infested and prevent them from spreading to Western Canada,” said OBWB Chair Tracy Gray.
In June, Gray was joined by a number of fellow Water Board directors for a meeting with Burnaby North-Seymour MP Terry Beech who is also Parliamentary Secretary to the Min. of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO), Nicholas Winfield – Director General Ecosystems Management for DFO, Ashraf Amlani – DFO Special Assistant for the Pacific – West Coast, and Kelowna-Lake Country MP Stephen Fuhr. At the time, it was noted that $43.8 million was allocated to address aquatic invasive species in Canada over five years (2017-18 fiscal year to 2021-22 fiscal year). The OBWB contingent made the case for some of it to go to invasive mussel action.