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Briefly: December 24, 2010

Water laws BC’s ministry of environment has released a new policy proposal for its plans to renew the province’s water laws.

Water laws

BC’s ministry of environment has released a new policy proposal for its plans to renew the province’s water laws. It is also inviting British Columbians to comment for a second time on the Water Sustainability Act, which is slated to replace the existing century-old Water Act.

“During the first round of engagement on modernizing the Water Act, British Columbians asked us for another opportunity to participate,” said Murray Coell, environment minister. “That’s why we are now asking them to review the policy proposal and let us know what they think.”

The report summarizes the key policies of the proposed new act and provides an opportunity for the public to comment on those policies, which will form the basis for the legislation.

The first round of public consultations resulted in a high level of public involvement, resulting in clear public feedback that protecting water and the environment is important to British Columbians, said Andrew Gage, staff counsel with West Coast Environmental Law.

Gage outlined a number of provisions in the policy proposal that his organization liked, or disliked. For instance, the proposal recognizes the importance of protecting environmental flows and would “apparently make protecting the flows a term of every new water licence, in the province. (There are 44,000 existing licences.)”

Another policy direction is to regulate groundwater use.

Beginning in January 2011, ministry of environment staff will explain key features of the proposed act in greater detail on the

Living Water Smart blog , which can be found by following the links at Live Smart's website. Members of the public can submit specific questions and comments about the act on the blog, by email or post.

The government’s policy proposal can also be accessed on the Living Water Smart website. More information is also available on

West Coast Environmental Law’s website .

Holiday help

Hopes for a joyful holiday season can put families of problem drinkers on high alert, because they are afraid they won’t get the kind of holiday they deserve. “Families have a false sense of being in command of their lives because they are cleaning up the messes, taking over responsibilities and pointing out the alcoholic’s sources of trouble,” said Debra Jay, writer, lecturer and addictions therapist.

Over time, family members focus so intently on the alcoholic’s problems that they no longer see themselves and their own needs clearly, Jay said. “They can’t see how alcoholism is changing them. For the family, the notion that someone else is at fault—the alcoholic—leads them to erroneously believe they need only wait for him or her to stop drinking and then everything will return to normal. However, this belief does not spare families from encountering reality sooner or later. This is where Al-Anon Family Groups can help.”

Al-Anon is based on the Twelve Steps, adapted from Alcoholics Anonymous. “When families understand that Al-Anon helps them develop interpersonal skills that promote loving, healthy relationships, they more often find working the Twelve Steps relevant,” Jay said.

Over 14,000 Al-Anon Family Groups meet every week throughout the United States and Canada. For meeting schedules in Powell River, call 604.483.3118 or 1.888.4AL-ANON.