FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – With upwards of 150 people in attendance, The BC Wildlife Federation held a Town Hall meeting in the Energetic City which touched on many topics.
Since the last Town Hall meeting in March, a MLA – Stakeholder committee was officially formed. The committee was spearheaded by former Peace River North MLA Pat Pimm and Mike Bernier.
Pimm said that the group was created to provide:
- Transparency for the public
- Communication to the public
- Public consultation
- Stakeholder consultation
- Access for public
“At first, there was quite a bit of resistance from the Ministry’s to cooperate. They weren’t willing to come forward with information or to keep us informed but since then, it has improved quite a bit”.
The BC Wildlife Federation says that they have had success as of late with two parcels of land being removed from Charlie Lake and at another location but they say there is still a major issue when it comes to transparency.
“They are also changing some of the rules. They believe land for First Nation negotiations overrides any previous land protection measures including water shed reserves.”
Now it is a waiting game as the government has been dissolved ahead of the Provincial election which is scheduled for May 9.
The group is having a hard time coming to solutions or agreements with the Ministry but says that they will continue to push for what they believe is right. They are hoping to start moving forward again in June at the earliest.
When Pimm had tried to table a report in the legislature before government dissolved, he claimed that the Speaker of the house would not allow him to speak to the report.
There are 9 Ridings in the Province, including the two Peace Country ridings that make up 80 percent of the 1.5 million acres of land currently under NOI in the Province. These 9 Ridings are: Peace River North and Peace River South (over 20 percent of the total with nearly 400,000 acres of land currently in First Nations discussions), Stikine, Skeena, Caribou – North, Caribou-Chilcotin, Fraser-Nicola, Chilliwack-Hope and Vancouver – Sea to Sky.