Select Standing Committee on Public Accounts - Transcripts of Proceedings, (Hansard)
After the release of the Auditor General's report, Protecting Drinking-Water Sources (March 1999), the Select Standing Committee on Public Accounts (see Terms of Reference below) began a review of the Auditor General's report and the 26 or so recommendations in the report. Perhaps one of the most important recommendations was to establish a new lead agency in charge of drinking water supplies, a recommendation which the government was unwilling to adopt. The main reason for this political unwillingness is tied to provincial agencies and related commercial businesses who want to maintain control of policies for "Integrated Resource Use" management, or policies which advocate industrial development in source water supply watersheds. The transcript of Mike Stamhuis, taken from the link to the November 7, 2000 discussion below, demonstrates the importance of consideration for a lead agency for drinking water, an agency which is not tied to resource use legislation and policy.
"And the final thing in our area: the Ministry of Health did not take part in the process, and they're being seen as a key player in this whole program. The second recommendation, designate a lead agency -- this, we believe, is probably the most important of all of the recommendations. Of the 26 recommendations, if only one is adopted and it's this one, we will see a significant improvement in our ability to do our jobs, because a great number of the other recommendations will likely follow from that lead agency. The information that you've heard today from the Ministry of Environment and the directors' committee leaves me with just two words, and those are "utter dismay." This we see as by far the most important recommendation in the whole report. The recommendation on accountability reporting -- we believe it's valuable. But we hope that the provincial health officer will concentrate very much on source protection, because that's one area where the Ministry of Health is not well involved. We believe that the Ministry of Health does an excellent job in helping us make sure our water supply is risk-free from our intake to the tap, but they are not involved in helping us in any way in keeping our source-water protected." (Mike Stamhuis, Director of Engineering, North Okanagan Water Authority, Public Accounts Committee meeting, November 7, 2000, pages 1647-1751.)
TERMS OF REFERENCE FOR
THE SELECT STANDING COMMITTEE ON PUBLIC ACCOUNTS
"That in addition to the powers previously conferred upon the Select Standing Committee on Public Accounts the Committee be empowered:
and shall report to the House as soon as possible, or following any adjournment, or at the next following Session, as the case may be; to deposit the original of its reports with the Clerk of the Legislative Assembly during a period of adjournment and upon resumption of the sittings of the House, the Chair shall present all reports to the Legislative Assembly."
- (a) to appoint of their number, one or more subcommittees and to refer to such subcommittees any of the matters referred to the Committee;
- (b) to adjourn from place to place as may be convenient;
- (c) to sit during a period in which the House is adjourned and during the recess after prorogation until the next following Session; and
- (d) to retain personnel to assist the Committee;
* Tuesday, June 6, 2000. Debates of the B.C. Legislative Assembly
* Tuesday, November 7, 2000, Issue No. 91 [Note: this is perhaps the most interesting transcript]