Revelstoke must keep pushing for a Conservation Officer

Revelstoke needs a Conservation Officer, says MLA Norm Macdonald.

Revelstoke needs a Conservation Officer. I cannot say this forcefully enough.

Back in 2003, the BC Liberals removed two Conservation Officers from Golden, and for years, Golden was served very poorly by this decision. After a long fight, the service was partially restored.

Now, Revelstoke is in exactly the same position with no Conservation Officer stationed in the community. Despite all the assurances about covering Revelstoke from other communities, we know that the reality is that Revelstoke is left to fend for itself.

Examples have been brought forward to the Minister of Environment such as the case of a bear repeatedly visiting a neighbourhood, attempting to break into the same house twice, and it taking five days for Conservation Officers from another community to respond.

The removal of the Conservation Officer means that RCMP are asked to deal with situations beyond their training, without proper equipment, and for which they have no time. The RCMP do their best, but to pass these duties to them is unfair.

But Conservation Officers do more than just manage wildlife encounters — they are responsible for the enforcement that protects fish and wildlife. The Revelstoke Rod and Gun Club has not only raised concerns of public safety, but also of poaching and other fish and wildlife related offenses, and routine fish and wildlife management issues.

The government says that they have no money to pay for this type of service, but they found $235 million a year to give a tax break to the richest two per cent of British Columbians. The fact is that this government has chosen the interests of the rich over the proper management of fish and wildlife, and over ensuring public safety in Revelstoke.

The only answer is for the residents of Revelstoke to continuously push for a return of a Revelstoke-based Conservation Officer. Please take the time to share your concerns with the Premier at premier@gov.bc.ca and the Minister of Environment at ENV.minister@gov.bc.ca.

Norm Macdonald is the MLA for Columbia River–Revelstoke. He can be reached at norm.macdonald.mla@leg.bc.ca or 1-866-870-4188.