The Member of Parliament for North Okanagan Shuswap says invasive mussels could have a devastating impact on the Okanagan’s economy and environment.
Mel Arnold met with about two dozen stakeholders and politicians in Vernon Wednesday to discuss what can be done to prevent zebra and quagga mussels from getting into local lakes and waterways.
“The big thing that needs to be done right now is education so we can prevent these invasive species from getting into our lakes. That’s the most cost effective. Treatment or eradication later may or may not not be even be possible, so the best thing we can do is try to educate the entire public,” says Arnold, a Conservative MP from Salmon Arm.
Arnold says everyone from “grandchildren to grandmothers” need to be educated on the potential risks.
Photo: Conservative MP’s Dan Albas (left) and Mel Arnold after the stakeholders meeting at the Schubert Centre
Arnold says they also talked about improving some of the procedures at the boat inspection stations.
“Some of these inspections are taking place on brand new boats that are shrink-wrapped coming from factories that are no where near infested areas, so there are resources being spent on boats that have absolutely no risk.”
Arnold says funding was another big discussion around the table.
“Who is responsible for it? Where should it all come from? Everybody agreed we all need to do something here because every level of government has some skin in the game, if you want to put it that way,” says Arnold who says he will push the federal Liberals for funding.
Dan Albas, MP for Central Okanagan, also attended the meeting.
“One of the things that came up today was role clarification. What should the federal government be responsible for, and what the provinces should be doing, because not every province is standing up for what they should be doing. Some are already affected and are simply just letting the infection run across the country,” says Albas.
Arnold says they also had participation from the Splatsin and Neskonlith First Nations.
He says the Okanagan Indian Band had to cancel at the last minute, but he will be meeting with them later.