DAWSON CREEK, B.C. – The Peace River Regional District held a special meeting on Tuesday to discuss Caribou Recovery, particularly the draft agreements.
Tom Ethier, Assistant Deputy Minister of Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development, Brian Clark, Provincial Delegate for Caribou Recovery, Russ LaRoche, Strategic Director of Caribou Implementation, and Blair Lekstrom, Liaison to Premier Horgan, was in attendance to provide information and an update to the District.
Board Directors had the opportunity to ask the delegates questions in relation to the agreements in order to have a better understanding of the process.
Director Rose asked Ethier about what number the Province would like to see the caribou population return to.
Ethier says the population target still needs to be determined before picking a certain number.
“The discussion around what is the population target we need to get back to, I think still needs to be determined. What we want to do is reverse the long-term trend and stabilize and grow the population back to a level that can sustain a harvest by the Nations and really ultimately, downlist them from the federal listing of threatened.”
Director Courtoreille says his community, Chetwynd, is currently sitting in a firestorm since they are not being provided with the scientific numbers and traditional knowledge in restoring caribou populations.
“We need those numbers in order for us to convey to our constituents that, no, we’re not totally shutting this area down because we have the facts. Right now, we’re sitting in the midst of a firestorm in our little community not knowing the facts.”
Other questions directed to the Province included economic impacts and how many jobs would be cut when the Caribou Recovery is put in place.
The Province says they will continue to consult with local government and communities before making any permanent decisions.
It was announced by Premier John Horgan, on April 15, that the deadline for consultation has been extended until May 31, 2019 in order to give Lekstrom time to work with local leaders.
Copies of the Draft Caribou Agreements can be found on the Regional District’s website.