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Regional district still waiting for government solution to address tsunami debris

Skeena-Queen Charlotte Regional District board members met with Premier Christy Clark and her staff at the UBCM meeting to discuss debris from the 2011 Japanese tsunami arriving on the coast of Haida Gwaii.  - Contributed
Skeena-Queen Charlotte Regional District board members met with Premier Christy Clark and her staff at the UBCM meeting to discuss debris from the 2011 Japanese tsunami arriving on the coast of Haida Gwaii.
— image credit: Contributed

Concerned Skeena-Queen Charlotte Regional District board members will have to wait even longer to find out the Provincial and Federal government's plan to address coming debris from the tsunami that devastated Japan in 2011.

"The majority of our coastline is remote and inaccessible… there's no doubt there's debris washing up out there and it's a big concern of ours," said Barry Pages, mayor of Masset.

The Prince Rupert Northern View contacted the Ministry of Environment regarding the issue of debris washing onshore, and were told that "Phase 2 of the Tsunami Debris Management Plan is in the final stages of development and should be out for consultation soon".

The ministry acknowledges the primary concern on Haida Gwaii is related to the disposal of the debris, and says this concern will be addressed in Phase 2 of the Tsunami Debris Management plan.

All members of the regional district board met with Premier Christy Clark and ministerial staff during the 2012 UBCM Convention to talk about the issue, however the meeting was only 15 minutes. In that time, the government reviewed the framework of Phase 2.

"We haven't heard what Phase 2 is going to encompass," Pages said.

The issue was discussed at last month's regional district meeting, when many members expressed disappointment that there still isn't a plan in place.

Anna Ashley, Prince Rupert representative, said she knows the government is aware of the issue, however she would like to see them take it more seriously.

Karl Bergman, representative from Oona River, said the government hasn't addressed where the debris will go when it does wash up onshore.

"We know it's coming, but whose going to pay for [the tipping fees]? I'm not paying for it, I'm throwing the s**t back in the ocean," he said.

The board sent a request to the premier in June requesting that the issue be dealt with by the United Nations, however the request was denied.

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