VICTORIA, B.C. – The Fort St. John and District Chamber of Commerce met with Doug Donaldson, Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, and Rural Development.
The FSJ Chamber along with the BC Chamber and 10 chambers from the North, Okanagan, and Kootenays met with the Minister to discuss concerns related to the Federal Species at Risk Act’s Section 11 Mountain Caribou Recovery Plan.
In attendance was Cheryl Montgomery from the Fort St. John and District Chamber of Commerce to ensure recommendations regarding the socio-economic impact that involves all industry sections including forestry, oil and gas, recreation, indigenous and community are being met through the section 11 criteria.
“It is an incredible opportunity to be able to have time with Minister Donaldson and ensure our voice is being heard on behalf of our members and the region of Fort St. John as a whole. My hope is that having a very large provincial voice in the BC Chamber of Commerce and all of its members will provide clarity to the minister about how important this issue is to our businesses and our local industries.” Says Executive Director of the FSJ and District Chamber of Commerce.
Per the BC Chamber adopted policies on the matter, the consortium addressed:
- The need for more fulsome (and broad) engagement moving forward with Indigenous nations, local governments, industry and communities
- The necessity of substantial and timely socio-economic impact assessments in areas that may be affected by any management measures intended to help the caribou recover
Montgomery shares, their messages were received by the minister, and the group felt optimistic that meaningful action will be taken in the weeks and months ahead to address the concerns.
According to Montgomery, the Minister stated he appreciates that chambers remain committed “support” organizations on the ground when it comes to enabling deeper consultations moving forward.
“Our network will continue to focus on strategies that protect both our iconic caribou and thriving local economies and communities,” says Val Litwin, CEO of the BC Chamber of Commerce. “The BC Chamber and our member chambers look forward to continuing to work with the Province on this important file,”
Chambers in attendance included: Dawson Creek, Revelstoke, Fort Nelson, Chetwynd, Sicamous, Prince George, Fort St. John, Tumbler Ridge. (Attending remotely were: Nakusp, Kelowna & Mackenzie)