P.E.I. Potato Board sees proposed water act as stalling tactic

Ryan Ross
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Gary Linkletter, chairman of the P.E.I. Potato Board

When it comes to the provincial government bringing in a water act, the head of the P.E.I. Potato Board says it makes sense.

But board chairman Gary Linkletter also said the government didn’t announce any

timelines to go along with it despite lengthy discussions about lifting a moratorium on deep-water wells.

“For us, the industry, it’s just a stalling tactic,” he said.

Recently, the provincial government announced a plan to introduce a water act that it said would ensure sustainable management of P.E.I.’s water resources.

The proposed legislation will deal with areas such as groundwater allocation, discharges into fresh and marine water environments, and mandate targets for water quality.

In developing the act, the province plans to have an arm’s-length group hold public consultations with work on the legislation starting right away.

But one thing it won’t deal with is the possibility of lifting a moratorium on high-capacity wells for agriculture irrigation until the water act and regulations are in place.

The P.E.I. Potato Board has been pushing for the province to lift that moratorium and Linkletter said there are a lot of different groups that use more water than farmers.

“We’re being singled out here,” he said.

Mark Bishop, chairman of the P.E.I. Watershed Alliance, said he sees a new water act as a positive because there are a lot of regulations in place that don’t tie together well enough.

“It really needs to be more cohesive,” he said.

Catherine O’Brien with the Coalition for the Protection of P.E.I. Water said a water act is necessary and is way past due.

“We’re very cautiously optimistic,” she said.

O’Brien said public consultations will be crucial and she used the recent report from

Horace Carver during his review of the Lands Protection Act as an example of successful consultation.

“If they can do that with the water act that would be great.”

rross@theguardian.pe.ca

twitter.com/ryanrross

Organizations: P.E.I. Potato Board, P.E.I. Watershed Alliance, Coalition for the Protection of P.E.I. Water

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Recent comments

  • george
    June 27, 2014 - 18:03

    don't buy any french fries from macdonalds if the deep wells go ahead

  • Lots of Questions
    June 27, 2014 - 16:05

    Where are the comparisons to "like land circumstances" ? This Island has no ground rock, so what would we be compared to??

  • irishnannie
    June 27, 2014 - 12:50

    It's so sad to see neighbour pitted against neighbour on this issue. I wonder if the issue would present itself differently if it was any other commodity but potatoes. Maybe it's time to look at the "real" source of irritation and see what could be done to enhance a more echo friendly industry. Strides are being made to improve the environmental foot print of the potato industry here on the Island but many Islanders are long way from being satisified. And justly so. All of our actions have consequences, let's try and fix the problems we have made first. Then maybe the issue over water, it's availability and it's uses could be less of an irritant.... just sayin

  • don
    June 27, 2014 - 11:28

    Linkletter tell me when YOU drain all our fresh water in your area just to make a buck will YOU buy everyone water in bottles out of your pocket? better still tell us how you will replace the water you drain from us?