Looking down the valley south of Revelstoke during a weather inversion. (Liam Harrap/Revelstoke Review)

Y2Y report warns of growing tension between industry and environment in Revelstoke

It includes 18 recommendations for land use, tourism, forestry, climate change and First Nations.

A recent Y2Y-commissioned report for the Columbia River headwaters aims to spark discussion on how to balance the economy and environment.

“If we want a balance between the two, lets get the challenges out on the table,” said Candace Batycki, director at Y2Y.

The study’s intention is to be a starting point and a foundation for residents as they think about what future they would like to live in and be a part of.

The study area is from Invemere and Kaslo northwards through Revelstoke to Kinbasket Lake.

The City of Revelstoke was one of many organizations that took part in the study. (Liam Harrap/Revelstoke Review)

Batycki said the environment and economy go hand-in-hand, particularly in Revelstoke.

Researchers in the study interviewed more than 30 community leaders in the region, five specifically from Revelstoke, such Ingrid Bron, director of community economic development at the City of Revelstoke, Mike Copperthwaite, general manager of Revelstoke Community Forest Corporation and former mayor Geoff Battersby.

In the study, one aspect identified as significantly lacking is a proper land-use plan, one that is locally driven to reflects local values and knowledge. It would also help avoid conflict between recreational users, losses of biodiversity and could contribute to addressing the rising cost of living and lack of affordable housing states the report.

READ MORE: Bird populations significantly declining around Revelstoke says Parks Canada

READ MORE: ‘You’re sitting on a jewel, Revelstoke’: Wilderness society proposes new park

It furthered that resource management, such as logging and the expansion of tourism/recreation, is causing challenges for vulnerable species like wolverines and mountain caribou.

“The Upper Columbia has outstanding natural capital assets, a skilled and educated workforce and a diverse set of industries that drive the local economies. Nonetheless, the region’s future should not be constrained by its history,” said Gary Bull, professor at UBC, in a news release. He was the lead researcher on the study.

According to the majority of interviewees, recreation in the area is already at its threshold and its continual increase will likely lead to conflict between users, thereby degrading the outdoor experience.

One of the most pressing issues identified is the decline of five caribou herds in the region.

READ MORE: ‘If we do nothing, the herd will certainly be extirpated’: Caribou maternity pen proposed in Nakusp

“Nothing that has been tried to date has been successful in forestalling the decline of these herds,” states the report.

The study noted there is “a noticeable absence” of Indigenous participation in the regional economy and recommended community leaders to engage more often with First Nations.

As Revelstoke becomes a destination for adventure tourism, the study notes this may create more tension between industry and ecological preservation. According to the report, adventure tourism is premised on the promise of “being out in the unspoiled backcountry”, yet resource extraction may be putting that premise at risk.

Forestry is still one of the main employers in Revelstoke. However, tourism is booming.

The study gives several examples of other areas that have developed a thriving tourism industry based on its natural resources, such as Costa Rica, which protects almost a third of its land. By comparison, roughly 10 per cent of Canada is protected.

The report ends with the question: How many and what types of tourists does the area want to attract?

Since the study is now public, Batycki said she hopes people will use it to build the future they want.

“Hopefully it will bring people together.”


 

@pointypeak701
liam.harrap@revelstokereview.com

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

Despite COVID-19, there will be an Easter egg hunt in Revelstoke

The event will be hosted by Revelstoke Cycling Association

Liam’s Lowdown: This too shall pass

COVID-19 isn’t forever

Glimpses of Revelstoke’s past for April 2

New lamposts, CPR fire and book tax

COVID-19: Diabetes Canada donation bins becoming garbage dumps amid pandemic

Diabetes Canada has asked residents to stop overflowing bins with donations and garbage

Okanagan temperatures to be in the double digits all week

Kelowna’s forecast projects a high of 17 degrees on Thursday

COVID-19: Trudeau says 30K ventilators on the way; 3.6M Canadians claim benefits

Canada has seen more than 17,000 cases and at least 345 deaths due to COVID-19

COMMENTARY: Knowing where COVID-19 cases are does not protect you

Dr. Bonnie Henry explains why B.C. withholds community names

Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen cuts two positions

Management roles cut as a result of ongoing COVID-19 pandemic

As Canadians return home amid pandemic, border crossings dip to just 5% of usual traffic

Non-commercial land crossing dipped by 95%, air travel dropped by 96 per cent, according to the CBSA

Similkameen mayor makes video plea: If you need help ask

Princeton Mayor Spencer Coyne made a heartfelt plea to residents last Sunday… Continue reading

B.C. wide burning restrictions come into effect April 16

‘Larger open burns pose an unnecessary risk and could detract from wildfire detection’

West Kelowna RCMP investigating early morning shooting

A man was shot in the 2400 block of Quince Road just before 1:30 a.m. on April 7

B.C. secures motel, hotel rooms for COVID-19 shelter space

Community centres, rooms reserved for pandemic self-isolation

Most Read