Fire – Water -Oil

Last evening felt like fall was just around the corner. We can see the mountains and islands once more and the smoke has moved on. Leaves are floating to the ground and the blackberries are done. It’s harvest time, a time of abundance. Farmers’ markets up and down the coast, apples and berries by the buckets and everybody, including Clare and I, are  swapping canning and drying recipes with our neighbours and friends.  Camp and I even exchanged blackberry jelly Clare made for  peaches Muriel canned. At our local beer farm we can also swap hops picking for beer. How lucky we are.

“We still need the rain,” Camp said as Vicky served us our first round.

“This year is the worst wild fire season on record in BC, over 2000 fires and 13’000 square km burned and no rain on the horizon.”

“I can’t believe we don’t have better water management here on the coast. Our sports fields look like parking lots and water restrictions are the norm at this time of year,” I said.

“I should know,” Camp said. “We’re always talking water supply improvements, reviews and proposals, anything from new wells to lowering the intake on Chapman Lake.”

“How about raising the dam instead of lowering the intake?” I ventured.

“You should attend some of the town’s or district meetings. It’s not about doing the work, it’s all about process, regulations, agreements, approvals and more consultation,” Camp said.

“Yeah, it’s all about consultation, dialogue, interest groups, stake holders, levels of governments etc. Just look at the Appeal Court’s thumbs down on the Kinder Morgan pipeline. Apparently not enough of the above has been done.”

“It’s called the ‘rule of law’ and democracy,” Camp said.

“I call it too much bureaucracy,” I countered. “This decision, framed as Trudeau’s failure, will be exploited by the conservatives but transporting bitumen by rail leaves a bigger energy footprint and is less safe than a pipeline. And not all First Nations are against it. Not in my backyardseems to be the main argument.”

“We’re addicted to oil, we do need water and there is fire all around us. Sounds like a Shakespearean drama,” Camp said, taking a much needed swallow of beer. I did the same.

“Let me get back to the local water issue,” I said. “ The talk is all about drinking water supply and management but there are other sources of the precious liquid we could harness besides lakes and aquifers, like rainwater for example.”

“Exactly, Brother’s Park, the one and only sports field for the town of Gibsons, sits right beside the new recreation center and ice rink. We could and should collect the rain water from its large metal roof into a cistern which could then be used to water the sports fields.”

“You’re preaching to the choir Camp. My neighbour installed a 1000 gallon water tank to do just that. Collecting the rainwater from his roof to be used for outdoor watering. It’s done all over the world.”

“You’re right,” Camp said, “I’m going to adopt this concept for my upcoming election platform, along with the harbour expansion and a controversial proposal to move the town hall to upper Gibsons. There is no need for the old municipal buildings to straddle the best view property in the lower village.”

“Oh, and what should be in it’s place? Another hotel development?  a park? or how about a seniors residence? I would like to have that lovely view when I’m old and immobile,” I said. “Almost as good as the view from here.”

“Good luck with that,” Camp said, “in order to finance a new town hall we would have to sell that property. I doubt if a developer would build a seniors residence,” Camp said.

“Unless of course it was part of the deal,” I countered. “I would like to point out that seniors are a large part of our local economy and they deserve a room with a view.”

Camp shook his head of untamed grey curls, which he hasn’t maintained for several months. When I asked him if his unruly head of hair was a deliberate look that he promoted for his upcoming re-election, he replied kind of tartly: “Muriel likes it.  ‘Makes you look like Einstain’she said, ‘smart and distinguished’.”

“How about wild and crazy?” I laughed.

“I like it,” Rosie said as she brought us a refill. “We have enough guys in suits and buzz cuts telling us how it is.”

“There you go,” Camp said smugly, looking like the cat that swallowed the canary. “I’ll drink to that.”

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