Fraser Basin Council chair Dr. Charles Jago and regional manager for the Cariboo Maureen LeBordais present to the Cariboo Regional District board Friday.

Fraser Basin Council chair Dr. Charles Jago and regional manager for the Cariboo Maureen LeBordais present to the Cariboo Regional District board Friday.

Fraser Basin Council works to expand sustainability understanding

Promoting sustainability is a key focus of the Fraser Basin Council, chair Charles Jago told the Cariboo Regional District board Friday.

Promoting sustainability is a key focus of the Fraser Basin Council, chair Charles Jago told the Cariboo Regional District board Friday.

“We do this by working across  jurisdictions with representatives from federal government, provincial government, regional government and First Nations,” Jago said. “All orders of government are given equivalent status and recognition.”

During the last year the council has worked hard to expand its understanding of the social dimensions of sustainability.

It’s been an interesting exercise because it’s easy to define economic and environmental sustainability, but it is not as easy to look at the social dimensions of sustainability, he said.

The 38-member FBC board operates on the basis of consensus and represents multi-interests — people who are environmentalists and people who are industry representatives, he said.

“We’re not an environmental organization, in everything we do, we work to balance economic, social and environmental issues,” Jago said noting FBC doesn’t take sides and works to build consensus within society.

Building consensus does not lead to paralysis. The board gets things done, he insisted.

“We face tough issues, make decisions and move forward.”

Funding comes from all levels of government and in the Cariboo region, $12,500 is contributed to the council, for a return of over $350,000 in investment.

“That’s a conservative estimate,” Jago said.

Last Thursday the council met with Chief Justice Bruce Cohen for a “lively give and take,” discussion on Fraser River salmon.

In the afternoon the board met with a provincial government official who is drafting the Water Act modernization.

“That was a workshop where we had significant input on how that led to legislation,” Jago said.

The board is often called into facilitate meetings and find the basis for resolving issues and sometimes it’s possible, sometimes it is not.

“We try to help groups solve issues,” Jago said.

Presently the board is half way through its most recent strategic plan, which has four critical goals.

They include climate change and air quality, healthy watersheds and water resources, building sustainable resilient communities and having a strong council.

Area C director John Massier represents the CRD on the FBC and said it’s an incredible experience to be in a room with 40 board members.