Meet the Mayor
July 23. 2014
In 1950, the summer I first laid eyes on Centurion (Wabi) Creek, the water was crystal clear. Grayling frolicked in deep pools beneath willow thickets near where Clary Road (a few miles up the Jackfish) now meets Centurion creek. They were biting fish, eager to strike the hook as soon as it touched the water. Farther up the watershed where the Old Moberly Road (actually the only road to Moberly when it was passable) crossed the creek one could kneel down and drink its fresh, pure water without fear. Would we do it now?
Things change. Sadly, our human experience has demonstrated that they don’t always change for the better. Much of the change is induced by increased population and the activity that population brings. Much of the change seems to sneak up on us while we’re busy at making a living, and before we realize the change we can no longer see the fish in the stream – or drink its water. The one-time-crystal-clear water has become clouded with silt from the activity we are imposing on the territory through it once ran sparkling clear. We’ve built roads and cleared fields; we’ve built a town that we love. Have we all contributed to the change in our water ways? Could we have built our roads, bridges, and cleared our fields without polluting the water?
We seem to have adequate water supplies now but is that only an illusion? How far into the future can we project our water security? California is suffering from a severe water shortage which we’ll soon experience on the grocery shelves. Will California come calling with an empty bucket? Wait and see.
Water stewardship, the deliberate, reasoned, and committed effort to protect and preserve our water resources, is not a novel idea. We need to be serious about caring for our water. After all, we take our drinking water from one of the most vulnerable streams in the area. Our own Pine River, beautiful, robust, but at the same time, fragile, carrying the melted snows from the mountains through the high plateaus, to parkland, and the great northern boreal forests, and finally to the Arctic Ocean, is not to be neglected. We need to do our part to preserve this river so that sixty years from now the fish will still frolic in pristine water. What is our part as people of Chetwynd?
But what about Wabi, already soiled with the silt of decades? Is there anything to be done to restore its former beauty? Can we assume stewardship of its waters? Is it possible to return Wabi to its once-pristine purity? I don’t know. Maybe. But not without enormous expense to restore and protect the riparian damage that has occurred over decades of human activity.
Do you have ideas resting in your head with no place to go? Are you willing to present to Council the things you have been dreaming about? Council is open to ideas; please share.
Merlin Nichols, Mayor