DAWSON CREEK, B.C. – A group has come together and formed the ‘Concerned Citizens for Caribou Recovery’ to create a voice for residents regarding the Provincial Governments handling of their Caribou Recovery Program.
A group of Dawson Creek Business Owners including Dane Smith – Manager of Trail Blazin Power Sports, Derek Clark – Manager of Hyper Toys and Aaron Mathias – Co-owner of Corlanes Sporting Goods approached Kathleen Connolly – Executive Director Dawson Creek & District Chamber of Commerce regarding their concern of the caribou closure and to help get in front of Government to get answers.
The group came together and started by forming an online petition that has 17,500 signatures and is climbing. The group is pushing to have transparency from the government as they recently backed out of a scheduled meeting when the regional district councillors asked to have the meeting made open to the public.
“There has been zero contact from the Government, these closures are imminent, and we don’t know that the closures look like. We have heard that it can be impacting to just snowmobilers to full closure,” said Kathleen Connolly “Any closure no matter the size we should be apart of that conversation.”
“Where the frustration comes from the people of the North East and why the petition took off, is that nobody knows what is going on.”
The CCCR group feels the Government did not do a proper job consulting and giving the opportunity to participate in the conversation. They want to know if an industry is going to be impacted, how big those impacts are and what the effect will be on the business community.
“Nobody in our group is saying caribou do not have the right to survive and thrive; we also agree First Nations should have an opportunity to manage. We are not disputing the closures, not disputing some of the access, we are disputing not being included in the conversation,” and Connolly goes on to say “We love the relationship people in the North Peace have with the land. We all live here because we love the outdoors, we love the backcountry, we care passionately, and it is inherently in our DNA to care about the land. We work off of it; we live off of it, we are recreational on it. it is part of the fabric of our culture and to have that impacted in a real way without being apart of a real conversation its, to be honest, an outrage, it’s frustrating and unfair that we don’t get to be apart of the conversation.”
A GoFundMe account was created with the purpose to hire a lawyer, to be advised of the proper legal steps the group needs to take to get a proper consultation with the Government and to hire someone to help with marketing to get this message out this. The purpose is not to make income off of these funds, and if there is a remainder, it will be donated to not for profit groups that work with caribou habitat recovery.
“Citizens have a right on things that will affect ability to recreation, and rights to make livings and have quality of life in the North East,” said Connolly “if you are concerned and want to do something, phone your MLA, phone your MP, write letters to the Government, sign the petition.”
To visit the online petition CLICK HERE
To visit the GoFundMe account CLICK HERE
To visit the FB Page CLICK HERE