On a glorious Sunday morning in sunset city, the people of Peel gathered to send a simple message to the people in power, ‘we have had enough’.
While the decades long practice of pumping raw sewage into the sea off Peel is nothing new, the pressure for the gov to finally resolve the matter is continuing to build.
The protest was organised by Jamie Blair, owner of cafe Roots by the Sea, who spoke to Gef to explain how, as his understand of the problem has grown, so has his desire to see a real solution be reached for the people of Peel.
Having spoken to Gef, Jamie also addressed the gathered crowd to thank them for their support and outline what they are seeking to do.
A Terrible Botch
Following Jamie’s speech, the crowd was addressed by former MHK Chris Robertshaw, who was part of the committee which looked into the IRIS scheme’s failings. He told protestors that what they were being offered is a ‘terrible botch’, that the gov is not telling them the truth and said the only solution for Peel and the Central Valley is to be connected to the IRIS system and Meary Veg.
Friends of the Earth
John Griffiths from Friends of the Earth said he was first made aware of the issue 30 years ago and said that in that time, the situation has ‘only gotten worse’ and that as Peel has grown, a lack of a proper solution has led to more sewage being pumped into the sea off the west coast.
Extremely Difficult to Resolve
Chairwoman of Peel Commissioners Hazel Hannan, who is also a former MHK for Peel, addressed the crowd to outline the history of how Peel reached the situation it is in now and outlined why agreement on any regional site would be ‘extremely difficult’ to reach. Ms Hannan said that the problem is not an easy one to solve, but in likening Peel’s issues to that of Laxey, which is also without a treatment plant, she said that the new gov has to find solutions that work.
Chris Wood also spoke to the crowd, to outline what is being pumped into the sea off Peel and why it isn’t own sewage that needs resolving.
Having first expected to be connected to the doomed IRIS scheme, until Tynwald ditched that idea in 2009, the people are Peel have since been told they will receive a regional sewage works. However, 12 years since IRIS was revealed to be little but a pipe dream, no solution has been found and more taxpayers’ money has been spent on failed ideas such as one at Glenfaba House which was rejected by planners.
Commissioner Mike Wade said that while the local authority wants to see a solution being found, it is a matter for national central government so the commissioners can only continue to pressure Tynwald to deliver for the people of Peel. He added: ‘I think this really highlights the discrepancy we’ve had with our politicians and the answers we’ve had about the sewage situation in Peel. For the past 20 years we’ve had the politicians from Glenfaba and Peel in the exact positions you want them to be in, Infrastructure, the old Water Board, DEFA and still 20 years later nothing has been done. And we’ve still got politicians saying “something should be done”.’