I highly encourage everyone interested in the provincial government’s caribou recovery program to come out for the public meeting being held April 2nd from 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. at the Pomeroy Hotel and Conference Centre, 11308 Alaska Road.
For many months, representatives from regional districts and MLAs from rural and northern B.C. have begged the provincial government for meaningful public consultations. But many of us feel it is rather late in the game to finally engage the public just weeks before a final deadline set by Ottawa this May.
Furthermore, on March 21st the Horgan government already released a draft agreement signed between the province and the federal government that is pretty much set in stone.
Be that as it may, I feel it is extremely important for people to show up to ask questions and express their concerns. The Horgan government is indicating that the closures will target resource development in particular. We are told that mining, tourism and backcountry recreation will not be affected. The forest industry will, however, be impacted.
But none of this rules out the possibility of changes in the future, especially if proposed measures prove ineffective. The fact is, everyone wants to see caribou survive. But I firmly believe that a recovery strategy will only be successful if local residents are part of the conversation.
There is a great deal of local knowledge out there that could have better informed the strategy currently being proposed. All decisions have to be science-based, but we also need buy-in from the public.
People want to be a part of the solution. We need assurances that any sacrifices made are in the best interests of the caribou and have a reasonable chance at success.