Our wilder­ness is not a toi­let

The Compass - - OPINION -

Ed­i­tor’s note: the fol­low­ing let­ter was sent to Ser­vice NL Min­is­ter Paul Davis, and also for­warded to other me­dia, in­clud­ing The Com­pass. Dear Mr. Davis

This let­ter is in re­sponse to your Jan. 24 re­quest for in­for­ma­tion from an en­vi­ron­men­tal per­spec­tive about vi­o­la­tors who wash their chem­i­cal toi­lets in New­found­land’s brooks. Un­for­tu­nately, as an avid out­doors­man, I had the mis­for­tune to come across these vi­o­la­tors with no cam­era in hand.

I also re­al­ize that you need clear ev­i­dence to pros­e­cute any­one who might en­gage in this prac­tice, which brings me to the let­ters I wrote to Premier Kathy Dun­derdale, En­vi­ron­ment and Con­ser­va­tion Min­is­ter Terry French, Child, Youth and Fam­ily Ser­vices and Min­is­ter Char­lene John­son, and your pre­de­ces­sor, Harry Hard­ing.

These min­is­ters, along with en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion of­fi­cer Tammy Mcdon­ald from Har­bour Grace, know the dif­fi­culty first hand in catch­ing vi­o­la­tors in the act, yet the Gov­ern­ment of New­found­land and Labrador con­tin­ues to open more re­mote wilder­ness ar­eas like Cliffty Pond to re­mote cabin de­vel­op­ment, in­dis­crim­i­nate dump­ing and car wrecks.

We had meet­ings with Min­is­ter John­son about these is­sues and the dan­gers of in­dis­crim­i­nate dump­ing years ago and all we got is a blank face.

I have for­warded nu­mer­ous pic­tures and in­for­ma­tion to the per­spec­tive min­is­ters nu­mer­ous times over the years and re­ported the risks of re­mote cabin de­vel­op­ment, in­dis­crim­i­nate dump­ing and the wash­ing of chem­i­cal toi­lets in New­found­land’s re­mote wilder­ness ar­eas.

I have prac­ticed due dili­gence from an en­vi­ron­men­tal safety per­spec­tive since I was a kid and have a daugh­ter who might want to drink the water out of a New­found­land brook some­time. The best way to en­sure potable water is go­ing to be safe for fu­ture gen­er­a­tions and chem­i­cal toi­lets won’t be washed in our beau­ti­ful brooks is re­scind re­mote cabin de­vel­op­ment and leave our woods in peace. En­cour­age peo­ple to pack in and pack it out of our re­mote wilder­ness ar­eas be­cause as you stated it is very dif­fi­cult to catch a slob, or the le­gal word is vi­o­la­tor.

I have read your ca­reer high­lights on­line and must say they are pretty im­pres­sive; as new min­is­ter, please use some com­mon sense to en­sure a safety first pol­icy for our re­mote wilder­ness ar­eas. If our politi­cians do not use com­mon sense en­vi­ron­men­tally, fu­ture gen­er­a­tions of New­found­lan­ders will be packing a jerry can of water in the woods ev­ery time they go in. An­other blight in New­found­land’s his­tory. Tony O’leary writes from

Western Bay

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