Q&A with the candidates: Part 1

How do you plan to assist both the District and landowners in ensuring proper ditch maintenance is carried out annually? 

  • May. 9, 2013 12:00 p.m.

Question 1:

Proper ditch maintenance is essential to the survival of farmland in Agassiz, and to ensure proper drainage for the entire District of Kent. Maintenance of these waterways has become increasingly difficult due to provincial and federal regulations. How do you plan to assist both the District and landowners in ensuring proper maintenance is carried out annually?

Michael Henshall:

Proper ditch maintenance is essential to the survival of farmland and the entire district of Kent. Myself and the BC Conservatives would ensure that decisions regarding waterways of the area would be for the benefit of farmers and the protection of private property. My belief is most farmers in the area consider conservation of wildlife in their farming practices. There are definitely better times in the season for ditch maintenance than others(ie not in Spring when waterfowl and other creatures are nesting or raising young). Consultation with local stakeholders (farmers & the District of Kent) is the answer to find appropriate times for ditch cleaning. As far as I am concerned I would advocate for efficiency in dealing with the red tape to get the job done! Another issue that requires immediate consideration is the filling of the Fraser River with silt and gravel. A local in the Yale area recently told me that last years high water (that flooded some areas outside the dike in Chilliwack) was much below the high water mark in Yale. This among other indicators tell me that the Fraser River needs immediate dredging in the middle of the channel. Dredging the middle of the channel will have minimal or no impact on fisheries and will be prudent maintenance for the protection of our communities in the Fraser Valley.

Ryan McKinnon:

To make this a reality all stakeholders involved will need to come together and weigh all of the pros and cons of the current drainage system.As an MLA i would research the practicality of the current drainage system and its impact on the environment as well as annual upkeep costs.The question i have is how can we have the least impact on the environment and keep maintenance costs to a minimum?

Gwen O’Mahony:

I am dedicated to working with all stakeholders on this issue. I have already spent time discussing this complex issue with the District, with farmers and with environmentalists.

I believe that it’s important to support local agriculture in this region while also finding ways to balance competing priorities such as conservation.

Jurisdiction over the ‘environment’ and ‘species at risk’, is divided between the federal and provincial governments and if elected I will hard on a solution to this issue both provincially and federally.

Ditch drainage has been an issue in Agassiz for several years now to no avail. This community needs a leader who will work in full consultation with stakeholders and who is committed to visiting sites and meeting with individuals affected by this issue.

Laurie Throness:

I am concerned about the viability of Agassiz farmland in the face of legislation that protects endangered species.  I will be a bridge builder and a peacemaker, furthering the interests of farmers – to grow food for Canada – by negotiating a way forward that also observes legislation.

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