2003 Jan 6-10: Low water reserves in GVRD

January 11th, 2003

Ms. L. Haeber
Executive Producer
Information Programming
CBC Radio
Vancouver, B.C.

Dear Ms. Haeber:

The following are some comments about an item that appeared on local CBC Radio programmes during the past week (Jan. 6-10, 2003).

(1) The host of The Early Edition interviewed a Richmond City official
whose job was the maintenance of thousands of trees in the City of
Richmond. In the course of this interview, the man revealed that 40,000 city trees were in danger of dying. This was an amazingly shocking figure because of its sheer magnitude. It was very, very interesting to hear the Richmond official state that the trees had not been watered at crucial times during this past summer. (All of us remember that this was quite a dry summer. This area had experienced drought/rain scarcity problems associated with the prairies.)

The official explained that there were low water reserves in Greater Vancouver reservoirs and city officials believed that watering the trees would deplete the reservoirs even further.

(2) As any long-term resident of the Greater Vancouver area knows, the
population of the City of Richmond, in particular, has exploded because of immigration. The Greater Vancouver area, in general, has absorbed over 700,000 new people, the largest number of them being immigrants. This population explosion (from 1.5 million to 2.2 million) has happened in a little over a dozen years.

Most people who have written about the population issue know that Canadians fail to see the significance of this issue by itself, but most Canadians can understand the significance of the population issue when it is connected to something else. Similarly, everyone can superficially understand the sight of a nuclear bomb and the
mushroom cloud it creates. How many people can grasp the idea that the
addition of huge numbers of people to an area creates equally huge demands on basic resources of the area especially on such a basic resource as water?

The point here is that the potential deaths of 40,000 trees in the
City of Richmond is a vivid example of the effects of loosely-fettered
growth policies and extremely foolish increases in immigration levels.
There is a strong and very clear connection between the two events. There have been, there are and there will be many examples of the effects of mindless growth here—largely driven by immigration.

When will CBC journalists start to make the connection between the two types of stories? Or to be more accurate, when will the CBC remove the taboo it has placed on its journalists to write about the connection between immigration and environmental degradation?