Surfrider Pacific Rim has teamed up with the District of Tofino, Ocean Outfitters and Tla-o-qui-aht Tribal Parks to increase public access to fresh drinking water.
On Aug. 25, representatives from each organization met on the Village Green to celebrate the installation of Tofino’s second water dispenser (the first off the multi-use path by Beaches Grocery) and to share ideas on water conservation.
Tla-o-qui-aht Tribal Parks guardian Gisele Martin said Tofino’s “beautiful” tap water is piped over from Meares Island.
“Tla-o-qui-aht spent $5 million on a decade-long Supreme Court case to protect Meares Island from logging. In essence, we protected Tofino’s drinking source,” said Martin.
“We chose to protect the forest instead of boom and bust industry. Help us continue that protection by support the Tribal Parks Allies program,” she said.
Martin went on to note that the watersheds in Tla-o-qui-aht territory are really low.
“Upper Kennedy is the lowest my dad’s ever seen in his life. We can be here in La La Land, but this is reality. I see change and I see the stress. We are not exempt,” said Martin.
Surfrider’s Lilly Woodbury says the Take Back the Tap campaign is about eliminating single-use plastic water bottles on the Coast and encouraging people to fill up from the tap.
“Sixty to 70 per cent of plastic water bottles sold do not get recycled and ultimately end up end up in landfills and waterways,” said Woodbury.
As part of the campaign, Surfrider Pacific Rim challenge area businesses to get on board to eliminate the sales of plastic water bottles (1.5 litres and under) by March 2022.
In Ucluelet, there is a new drinking fountain outside the Ucluelet Aquarium and there are water bottle fill stations located at the washrooms on Wickaninnish Beach and Long Beach/Incinerator Rock in the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve.
So far, only about 25 per cent of West Coast businesses have committed to the Take Back the Tap campaign. Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to get involved.