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Chiefs leave biosolid panel

Chiefs representing First Nations in the Nicola Valley have walked away from the provincial biosolids panel review.

Since the signing of a collaborative engagement protocol a year ago, the Nicola chiefs and provincial representatives have met numerous times to negotiate terms and membership of the scientific review.

The review surrounded the possible dumping of biosolids in the Nicola Valley.

The two sides have not been able to come to an agreement, prompting the chiefs to walk away from the panel review.

In a press release, the chiefs contend the most recent government proposal rendered First Nations' participation that of observers only.

The proposed review was to be conducted by a small group of hand-picked agrologists and biologists, groups they say are, to a large extent, controlled by the government.

They went on to say agrologists are heavily dependent on work provided by the biosolid industry and, therefore, are in a conflict of interest.

The chiefs stated they would like to focus on green, sustainable, alternatives to land application. Methods of dealing with the waste issue that does not endanger the health of the land or jeopardize the health of future generations.

A little more than a year ago, some residents in the Nicola Valley were outraged when learning treated human waste from the Regional District of Central Okanagan was being dumped on land west of Merritt.

The chiefs say they again stand by a moratorium they enacted a year ago on the dumping of sludge in the valley.

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