February 21, 2018

Health minister powerless to intervene in Chilliwack chlorine controversy

BC’s Health Minister admits she is powerless to intervene as Fraser Health orders Chilliwack to permanently chlorinate its water.

Margaret MacDiarmid says it is not appropriate for government to take over from the Health Authorities when it comes to water.

That said “I also think that residents of Chilliwack they are very concerned about the chlorination. They need to be heard and listened to and I did speak with Doctor Van Buynder maybe three weeks ago, just before they had the public meeting, it sounded to me as if he really was prepared to listen to the residents of Chilliwack and to work with the municipality.”

When asked if there should be a mechanism allowing for community input into Health Authority decisions, Macdiarmid says “There has been a suggestion that the government should change the legislation so that the government would take over the authority over water I think that would be a very seriously flawed thing to do but it is important regardless of the public policy that is happening it is important for all of us to listen to stakeholders even if we are not going to do what they asj us to do we do need to listen.”

However MacDiarmid says public safety is also a top priority.

“Right after that public meeting there was E-Coli found in the water so they took the decision at the time to put chlorine in the water and there are a couple of avenues residents can pursue if they wish to, they can appeal to the provincial medical health officer and there is one other appeal that they can go to so there are possibilities but it isn’t possible for the Minister of Health to over rule this.”

Fraser Health issued the chlorine edict Thursday much to the displeasure of Chilliwack’s mayor and council.

CKNW Vancouver News

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