Two bull mountain caribou spar on a snowy fall day.

COLUMNS: Government balks at public caribou consultations

The public has a right to be deeply upset with provincial government because of a lack of public consultation on plans to manage the Caribou populations back to health.

We all want to see this species rebound from its current low numbers in our region and right across the province.

But the public also wants to be a part of the solution, especially if the government’s plans involves significantly altering the industrial and recreational use of the land we call home.

We are talking about a huge swath of land sweeping from the Peace River region right down to the Kootenays.

Everything from tourism, forestry, mining and just the simple pleasure of enjoying the outdoors could be affected.

It’s no wonder that a group called Concerned Citizens for Caribou Recovery (CCCR) is quickly gathering steam out of frustration with the government’s behind-closed-doors approach to addressing the situation.

Aaron Mathias represents the CCCR and says their demands are simple: “We want baseline data on the science behind management decisions, a report on how this will impact the economy in rural British Columbia, and we want a genuine public consultation.”

But forest minister Doug Donaldson and environment minister George Heyman are still giving the public, local governments and even MLAs the cold shoulder.

I have written and called both cabinet ministers on multiple occasions and they still won’t budge.

In fact, the B.C. Natural Resources Forum held in Prince George last week would have been a perfect opportunity to launch public consultations with everyone there from industry to elected officials, but no dice.

Last week the Peace River Regional District issued a news release saying the government plans to initiate public and stakeholder engagement in that part of the world, but I would not hold my breath.

Every time a public meeting has been announced by a local government it suddenly gets cancelled at the last minute.

It’s time to let the public be a part of the solution.

Donna Barnett is the Liberal MLA for the Cariboo-Chilcotin.


Do you have a comment about this story? email:
editor@wltribune.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Williams Lake minor fastball team brings home bronze

“As coaches we are so proud of the team’s successes.”

Photos: First Ribfest a hit with lakecity families

Hundreds of people came out for the first-ever Williams Lake Rib Festival

150 Mile Historic School House collecting local historical stories

Did you attend school at the little red shoolhouse or know someone who did?

CASUAL COUNTRY 2019: Chad Webb’s coaching career comes full circle with Williams Lake Blue Fins

“I’m lucky to be here and I plan on staying and coaching in the community.”

Rich the Vegan scoots across Canada for the animals

Rich Adams is riding his push scooter across Canada to bring awareness to the dog meat trade in Asia

B.C. VIEWS: NDP pushes ahead with Crown forest redistribution

This isn’t the time for a radical Indigenous rights agenda

Two dead in two-vehicle crash between Revelstoke and Golden

RCMP are investigating the cause of the crash

Ottawa fights planned class action against RCMP for bullying, intimidation

The current case is more general, applying to employees, including men, who worked for the RCMP

Alberta judge denies B.C.’s bid to block ‘Turn Off the Taps’ bill

He said the proper venue for the disagreement is Federal Court

Canadian high school science courses behind on climate change, says UBC study

Researchers found performance on key areas varies by province and territory

Six inducted into BC Hockey Hall of Fame

The 26th ceremony in Penticton welcomed powerful figures both from on and off the ice

RCMP investigate two shootings in the Lower Mainland

Incidents happened in Surrey, with a victim being treated at Langley Memorial Hospital

Most Read