Question Period, 15 April 2016
Source: Legislative Assembly of PEI

Moratorium on high capacity wells re: agriculture and aquaculture

Dr. Bevan-Baker: Thank you so much, Mr. Speaker.

A question to the Minister of Communities, Land and Environment. Can he tell this House if the moratorium on high capacity wells applies equally to agriculture and aquaculture?

Speaker: The hon. Minister of Communities, Land and Environment.

Mr. Mitchell: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Currently the moratorium that’s in place is regarding agriculture, on particular waterways that have exceeded their limit of water withdrawal.

Speaker: The hon. Leader of the Third Party, your first supplementary question.

Dr. Bevan-Baker: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Which strikes me as a little odd given that an aquaculture facility requires 24/7/365 input of water whereas a farming high capacity well is just seasonal and intermittent.

However, modern farming practices use closed systems. Fish farming practices use closed systems where the water is recycled through the plant and it’s not pumped continuously and then released. Not only is this safer, but it dramatically reduces the amount of water required to service the operation.

AquaBounty and closed containment system

Another question to the minister: Was a closed containment system option considered by AquaBounty in their recent application for expansion?

Speaker: The hon. Minister of Communities, Land and Environment.

Mr. Mitchell: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

AquaBounty is going through their environmental impact assessment program as we speak. They had a public meeting last week.

All aspects of development within their company were brought forward. Much discussion has occurred in regards to all of those and a public meeting was held in response to those needs for that company.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Speaker: The hon. Leader of the Third Party, your second supplementary question.

Accessibility of environmental impact assessments

Dr. Bevan-Baker: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I’d like to start off my second supplementary by acknowledging the unprecedented amount of public engagement that’s going on around the province at the moment, whether it be on the water act or democratic renewal or whatever. Indeed there was a public meeting held.

This government puts out all sorts of notices and press releases. However, notices for controversial projects like this are more difficult to find. It’s hard to have good engagement when the public can’t easily find out what’s going on. We’ve already seen this morning environmental impact assessments on projects such as the Millvale transmission lines and this AquaBounty project are fairly well hidden.

Will this government commit to making notices for environmental impact assessments as accessible and as visible as are all of your news releases on good news items?

Speaker: The hon. Minister of Communities, Land and Environment.

Mr. Mitchell: Yes, thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

Indeed, we are very open and transparent when it comes to these environmental impact assessments. You just have to –

Mr. Trivers: Except for the ones that are screened out.

Mr. Mitchell: – go to the website. It has several that are –

Mr. Trivers: (Indistinct).

Mr. Mitchell: – in progress. It has the Millvale project, that has been screened out, with the impact statement put forward by the company. So all of that information is available on the website as we speak.

Currently, the AquaBounty project is still in the stage where the public can bring forward their thoughts and views on that. It’s still open for that. To the best of my knowledge that is occurring.

Of course, hon. member, we do have the water act consultations that are ongoing. All of those aspects of water quality and quantity on Prince Edward Island are being reviewed in the form of the new water act that will be brought forward later on within the next legislation period. All of that information is online at the moment.


One Comment

  1. Bill Kays 15 April 2016 at 6:27 pm

    Aqua Bounty is the big issue here. Bringing forward thoughts or views on the Aqua Bounty project proved useless in the past, so I doubt it will do anything this time either, except waste people’s time and energy. Government loves wasting people’s time and energy by telling people they are welcome to express views or thoughts, well BIG Freaking DEAL. Having, or getting, government to actually LISTEN and THEN TO MAKE CHANGES, well when or how often does that happen. Elections are rigged because the parties rig them. Party politics does not work. All you have to do is look at the legislature over the last 40 years and it is plain to see. People forget easily and are too short minded for our own good. Politicians know this and use it to their advantage, rather than the people’s advantage.


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