Ranchers lose seasons to service delays

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Tom Summer Local Journalism Initiative, Alaska Highway News
The Local Journalism Initiative (LJI) supports the creation of original civic journalism. Tom Summer works under the Alaska Highway News in Fort St. John. The content that is produced will be made available to media organizations through a Creative Commons license so that Canadians can be better informed.

The Peace River Regional District plans to petition the provincial government to address ongoing staffing problems that have been causing ranchers to lose entire grazing seasons.

Ranchers are struggling with high turnover and inexperienced staff at the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development, and face long delays in approvals to build fences, licence wells, and manage their ranges.

PRRD Director Dan Rose says the problems affect ranchers across the Peace region.

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“What we’re trying to do is get a little more resources applied up here, so they can be processed. Many times people are losing entire grazing seasons,” Rose said.

BC Cattlemens Association President Renee Ardill said the Water Protection Act is just one hurdle that ranchers are facing. The act requires all stakeholders to licence their wells.

“Some of the new legislation coming out adds expense and red tape to things that don’t have to be nearly that complicated,” Ardill said. “It should be a straightforward process, but some people have licenced them months ago and haven’t got anything back.”

The PRRD will be seeking support from other B.C. municipalities and plans to submit a resolution to the next UBCM convention calling on the ministry to improve its service levels.

Said the ministry in a statement: “There have been some administrative challenges in the Peace District with staffing levels and significant staff turnover over the past few years.”   

Email reporter Tom Summer at tsummer@ahnfsj.ca.

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