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

Salmon Arm mayor unconcerned over top court’s quash of plastic bag ban in Victoria

“I don’t think there is any turning back philosophically,” he said.

Sports shorts

Keep up to date with local sporting events and news segments Wrestler… Continue reading

In photos and video: Snow collapses cat shelter at Shuswap SPCA

Organization says no cats were injured, help wanted to rebuild

Flooding water at West Kelowna Tim Hortons closes lane on Highway 97

This story has been updated with more accurate information. Water flooding from… Continue reading

Women take centre stage at NHL all-star skills competition

Canada beat the United States 2-1 in a spirited 3-on-3 game between female players Friday night

Highway 1 closed near Golden for high avalanche danger

DriveBC does not give an estimation for reopening

Second earthquake in two days strikes near Agassiz

A 2.6-magnitude recorded Saturday morning

BCLC opens novelty bet on Harry and Meghan moving to the west coast

Meanwhile, real estate agency points to four possible homes for the family

Canada slips in global corruption ranking in aftermath of SNC-Lavalin scandal

The country obtained a score of 77, which places it at the top in the Americas

Wuhan bans cars, Hong Kong closes schools as coronavirus spreads

Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said her government will raise its response level to emergency, highest one

Campfires no longer permitted at Kelowna scout camp

City of Kelowna said they rejected Camp Dunlop’s fire permit due to stricter bylaws

B.C.’s oldest practising lawyer celebrates 100th birthday, shares advice

Firefighters bring Constance Isherwood a cake with 100 birthday candles

Most Read