Members of the public attend a community engagement session on caribou Monday, April 8 in Williams Lake. -R Dyok, MyCaribooNow
The Cariboo Regional District Board will be having a bigger discussion on what kind of position, stance, and action they want to take in terms of advocating about species at risk including caribou.
Directors agreed at Friday’s board meeting to have further discussion on the matter at the Board’s strategic planning session next month.
“There is a lot of species at risk in BC. There are hundreds of them and some of the local government issue is sometimes we seem to be expressing concern about the issue when it’s already halfway down the pipeline,” CRD Chair Margo Wagner said.
“Because there is not the legal requirement to consult with local governments, the legal requirement is there has to be consultation between the federal government, the province, and the first nations. Local government is not included in that according to the constitution so we’re kind of behind the eightball even before we start.”
Wagner said while the province is not legally obliged to consult with local governments, local governments have the option to consulting with the province.
“The lengthy discussion around the board table was that we try to come up with something where we can try to see where the province might be going with the next species at risk and try to get something in place where we can present to the province an alternative so we can be more in the forefront than playing catch up.”
After attending a caribou engagement session in Williams Lake earlier this week, Area D Director Steve Forseth said he was planning on asking his Regional District colleagues at Friday’s board meeting to send a joint letter to the provincial and federal governments to slow the process down so they get it right in understanding any socio-economic impacts to the CRD which could last as many as 30 years.
“I’ve done several letters, Directors have letters, I’ve been on conference calls, I’ve had phone conversations with the Federal government so they’re very well aware of our position on the caribou,” Wagner said.
“The NCLGA has sent in a letter recently and it’s gone to Prime Minister Trudeau, and UBCM has become involved in this and I’ve had conversations with UBCM President Arjun Singh on this issue so it’s not like we’re ignoring the issue because we’re not. It’s just that you keep writing letters and eventually the letters get opened and it’s like oh another letter from the CRD, let’s put that in file thirteen so we have to try a different tact here.”
“We will still continue to talk caribou,” Wagner added.
“The biggest impacts on the caribou issue right now is going to be in the northeast without a doubt because the caribou up there are in dire straights right now. From the meeting that was in Williams Lake and from what I’ve heard from northern directors that attended the meeting in Quesnel, the province feels that the rest of the herds within the Cariboo Regional District are relatively stable, some are definitely in decline, but they don’t anticipate any major sanctuary areas are needed. Now, in my opinion, that’s not to say they’re going to be needed in ten years.”
(Editor’s Note: Listen to CRD Chair Margo Wagner in the audio file below)