Province attempting to ease concerns over caribou management

CSRD receives letter promising more consultation while chambers of commerce meet with minister

The B.C. government is taking steps to ease worries of groups concerned they would be cut out of the process of developing plans to preserve dwindling mountain caribou populations in the mountains of Eastern B.C.

Among those groups are the Sicamous Chamber of Commerce and the Columbia Shuswap Regional District (CSRD).

The CSRD board received correspondence from David Muter, the executive director of the province’s Species at Risk Recovery Program. Muter’s letter came in reply to a letter the CSRD board had sent to Doug Donaldson, the Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations.

The letter from the provincial official accepted an invitation to attend a later board meeting, and tries to address concerns about a lack of consultation with local groups raised in the CSRD’s correspondence. The letter states the province intends to consult all groups as it develops plans to restore the dwindling caribou herds to sustainable population levels.

Concerns have been expressed by a variety of communities and user groups that large areas of mountain backcountry could be closed to the public under Section 11 of the federal Species at Risk Act.

Read More: Sicamous and Revelstoke mayors deliver petition on mountain caribou recovery

Read More: Proposed backcountry closures for caribou recovery a concern

Revelstoke mayor Gary Sulz said after closures in the north of the province were announced, the director of the province’s caribou recovery program called him to offer assurances closures would not be taking place in the same way in the southern end of the province.

“He has alluded that we, as stakeholders, will be able to sit at the table regarding the herd plans. I still want to have those conversations,” Sulz said.

He added he still has concerns about what exactly will happen in the future, but thinks things will remain status quo due to the federal election.

“To save the mountain caribou is important, but at the same time, backcountry closures are an issue. It’s a citizens’s rights issue and it’s a lot deeper than just mountain caribou,” said Sicamous Mayor Terry Rysz.

Rysz added that he and Sulz have been offered a one-hour meeting with premier John Horgan to discuss the issue further.

Another group from the Shuswap was in Victoria discussing the issue of mountain caribou recovery on Tuesday, July 16. The Sicamous Chamber of Commerce was part of a delegation from the BC Chamber of Commerce and 10 chambers in the North Okanagan and Kootenays that met with Donaldson.

“I left the meeting hopeful and glad I was able to be there to represent Sicamous and our surrounding communities,” said Sheila Devost, executive director of the Sicamous chamber.

Read More: Last caribou from lower 48 U.S. states released back into the wild

Read More: Snowmobile clubs check compliance in caribou closures

According to the Sicamous chamber, the meeting with Donaldson addressed the need for broader engagement with First Nations, local governments, industry and communities as the caribou recovery plans move forward. The chamber also expressed a desire for socio-economic impact assessments in areas which could be affected by measures intended to help recover the caribou.

A message from the chamber states they are optimistic their concerns were heard by the minister and action will be taken to address them in the weeks and months ahead.


@SalmonArm
jim.elliot@saobserver.net

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Kootenay-Columbia MP urges end to ‘illegal roadblocks’ in solidarity with pipeline dispute

Rob Morrison says protestors across Canada need to remove roadblocks on roads, rail lines

Up to 15 cm of snow coming for Revelstoke

The snow should start tonight and continue through the weekend

Snow bike stunt movie filmed in downtown Revelstoke

The Way Home is an action sport film for Rockstar Energy, Polaris, and C3 Powersports

Letter: Dear Revelstoke City Council, say NO to highway proposed between Alberta and B.C.

The Central Alberta Economic Partnership is proposing a highway be built across Howse Pass

VIDEO: B.C. senior recalls ‘crazy’ wartime decision to grab bear cub from den

Henry Martens – now 96 – says he was lucky to be alive after youthful decision to enter a bear’s den

Gas drops below a dollar per litre in Penticton

Two stores in Penticton have gas below a dollar.

Pawsative Pups: You have a new puppy, now what?

Lisa Davies is a new columnist for Black Press who writes about dog training

Loans or gifts? Judge rules woman must pay B.C. man back $7K

B.C. judge rules that woman must pay back more than $7,000 in advanced funds to man

VIDEO: Outpouring of worldwide support for bullied Australian boy

Australian actor Hugh Jackman said ‘you are stronger than you know, mate’

Sewer service planned for South Okanagan community of Kaleden

Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen plans to extend Okanagan Falls system into Kaleden

‘A horror show:’ Ex-employee shares experience at problematic Chilliwack seniors’ home

Workers are paid below industry standard at all Retirement Concepts facilities

Forest industry protests northern B.C. caribou protection deal

B.C. Mining Association supports federal-Indigenous plan

Youth-led report calls on B.C. government to create plan to end youth homelessness

There are no dedicated programs for youth homelessness at federal, provincial level, report says

Most Read