Brian Wong is the Waverley-Fall River-Beaver Bank MLA. (Healey photo)

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OAKFIELD: The Rankin Liberals’ failure to communicate has the residents of Oakfield worried about the blue green algae bloom in Grand Lake, said PC candidate for Waverley-Fall River-Beaver Bank Brian Wong.

“I’m hearing a wide range of concerns on doorsteps from people extremely worried to those who believe the government overreacted, but the common theme is a lack of communications,” said Wong. “If we have learned anything from the Pandemic it’s that when it comes to public health concerns, people expect clear communications from their government.”

On June 10, the government announced that they were testing Grand Lake and Fish Lake for two types of toxins produced by blue-green algae. The last official communication was on June 16 when testing confirmed the presence of blue-green algae and advised that through the summer people should not drink or cook with the water.

Wong said he is aware that the Department of Environment and Climate Change has staff in the area and that the message from the government is to use these parks, and the lake, at your own risk.

“At a time when people need to feel good about getting outdoors, poor management of this issue is causing residents to be afraid,” he said.

Recreational usage of the two popular provincial parks in the area is down because a summer-long water safety advisory is posted by the Department Environment and Climate Change.  The advisory came after two dogs died and a woman was sent to hospital.

 “I see a level of anxiety on the faces of many property owners on the lakes in the area when they talk about this,” Wong continued. “If a large body of water like Grand Lake has an issue that is killing pets what does that mean for the thousands of residents with homes on smaller bodies of water?”

Wong suggests at the very least the government needs to communicate what the risk level is and educate people on the key items they need to monitor for.  

“Our numerous lakes in the region have a significant impact on the small business in this riding and the poor handling of this matter is a big issue with residents in this election,” Wong said.