Sea cucumber opponents take concerns to regional district
Comox Valley Echo
Friday, June 29, 2012
Opponents of a proposed sea cucumber farm in Baynes Sound took their concerns to Comox Valley Regional District’s board on Tuesday.
The four-person delegation representing ‘The Friends of Baynes Sound’ – Kathy Gordon, Sue Smith, Mary Graves and Ed Varney – spoke against the aquaculture tenure application currently being considered by the province.
While the regional district has no direct jurisdiction over whether the tenure is granted, the application has been referred to CVRD staff as part of the government’s consultation process with interested agencies.
Among the opponents’ many representations, Gordon suggested the area from Gartley Point to Dorothy Point should be designated as a ‘public recreational refuge’ instead of having it zoned for aquaculture.
And Varney drew attention to what he described as “massive, unacceptable pollution” that would be created by a million sea cucumbers, each producing 600 pounds of excrement a year.
He also noted the issue had been presented as one that was in the public interest, but said only 0.002 per cent of what he suggested was a $45 million a year business would go to the public purse as tenure fees.
“How can this be construed to be in the public interest?” he asked.
The delegation suggested that while people would not necessarily see much on the water surface, that did not mean things were not going on below.
To make the point, they presented to each director a manipulated illustration of a person apparently lifting the sea like a curtain to reveal sea cucumbers and alleged pollution below the surface.
No decisions were taken by the board, but chair Edwin Grieve said the delegation has given them “food for thought.”
And chief administrative officer Debra Oakman said allegations by the group that there were errors on maps and other information filed with the application would be followed up.