Tofino Mayor Josie Osborne weighs in on fish farms issue

Cermaq held an open house in Tofino last week to bring the public up to speed on the company’s application for two new fish farms in Clayoquot Sound.

Mayor Josie Osborne attended the event and acknowledged her constituency is rife with conflicting opinions on the salmon farming industry, with some believing it is an important job creator and others believing it puts the local wild salmon population at risk.

“There have always been, and will always be, a wide range of opinions about salmon aquaculture amongst Tofitians and Clayoquot

Sound residents-from outright opposition to positive acceptance and promotion of the industry,” Osborne said.

“I think our discussions about salmon aquaculture are all too frequently polarized into environment versus economy and far too often simplified as ‘black and white’ issues. Myself, I am much more interested in the 95% grey area in the middle.”

She said she has been involved with salmon farming issues since she came to Clayoquot Sound in the late 1990’s as a fisheries biologist.

“I have always wished there was a better way we could discuss all the issues that are raised, but it’s tough in such a loaded environment,” she said.

“My approach has always been to maintain good relationships with all parties involved, to listen carefully, and to try to ask tough questions in a way that challenges people to think a little bit outside their ‘boxes.'” While the province does not consult with Tofino on farm site permits, the district does have an interest in water and housing issues, according to Osborne.

“Any increased potable water use at the fish processing plant that is created by increased annual production will affect the district,” she said.

“It’s also a concern to me that only 80 of the 155 full time equivalent employees in Cermaq’s West Coast operations live in Clayoquot Sound, Tofino or Ucluelet. Therefore, I spoke to company representatives about what needs to happen for more of Cermaq’s employees to live in the area so that more salaries can stay here, more children can be raised here, and we can continue to build a strong community that lives and works in the area.”

She added that she also asked questions about environmental monitoring and relationships with First Nations.

“It was good to have an opportunity to get the questions out at the Open House, but the best answers are more likely to come with longer conversations in less hectic environment,” she said. “I’ve got a few things to follow up on.”

reporter@westerlynews.ca

Just Posted

Foot found near Victoria belonged to missing Washington man

No foul play suspected in death of Stanley Okumoto, 79

Greyhound cleared to end routes in northern B.C., Vancouver Island

Company says nine routes have dropped 30% in ridership in last five years

Tofino mayor explains housing editorial

“We felt it was important to get our messages out there.”

B.C. BUDGET: Fare freeze, free travel for seniors on BC Ferries

A complete fare freeze will be put into place on major routes, and fares will be rolled back on smaller routes by 15 per cent

BC BUDGET: New spaces a step to universal child care

Fees reduced for licensed daycare operators

VIDEO: Top 10 B.C. budget highlights

The NDP is focusing on childcare, affordable housing and speeding up the elimination of MSP premiums

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

Team USA beats Canada 3-2 on the shootout to take home Olympic gold

Americans win their first gold medal since 1998

Two Haida men detained for crossing U.S.-Canada border

Edenshaw and Frisby travelled from Alaska to Prince Rupert for the All Native Basketball Tournament

Alberta takes out full-page ads in B.C. over strained relationship

It’s the latest move between the two provinces over progress on Trans Mountain pipeline expansion

B.C. teacher suspended over allegedly using N-word in worksheets

Trafalgar Elementary teacher under investigation by Vancouver School Board

Toddler swept away in Ontario floods

Toddler missing as flooding forces thousands from their homes in Ontario

Inside the Olympic performance of the Island’s Teal Harle

Islander finishes fifth in Olympic Men’s Slopestyle final in Pyeong Chang

BC BUDGET: New money helps seniors’ care shortage

Job stability for care aides key to recruitment, union leader says

Most Read