The Revelstoke Chamber of Commerce voiced its concerns with the Mountain Caribou Recovery Plan during a recent meeting with Doug Donaldson, Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development.
The Revelstoke Chamber, along with the BC Chamber and 10 Chambers from the North Okanagan and Kootenays met with Donaldson in Victoria to discuss concerns related to the Federal Species at Risk Act’s Section 11 Mountain Caribou Recovery Plan. Chambers in attendance included: Dawson Creek, Revelstoke, Fort Nelson, Chetwynd, Sicamous, Prince George, Fort St. John and Tumbler Ridge. Nakusp, Kelowna and Mackenzie Chamber’s attended remotely.
Jana Thompson, executive director of the Revelstoke Chamber of Commerce, attended through support of City of Revelstoke Economic Development, to ensure specific concerns from Revelstoke and the region were discussed. Conversations included the request for an outline of the governments consultation plan with emphasis on ensuring it will include a robust stakeholder engagement process, the request for the appointment of a regional government representative for Revelstoke and confirmation that individual herd conservation and recovery plans will be on an individual herd by herd basis.
“It was a privilege to have the opportunity to address the concerns of our community members and business stakeholders in a very frank and open conversation with Minister Donaldson and his team. It is critical to have a comprehensive engagement and consultation strategy implemented for not only woodland caribou, but any species at risk concerns in our region. Overall, we were pleased to have our questions or concerns personally addressed and our coalition left the meeting feeling very optimistic that meaningful action will be taken,” said Thompson.
Concerns addressed included a need for more fulsome and broad engagement moving forward with Indigenous nations, local governments, industry and communities. The group also addressed the need for substantial and timely socio-economic impact assessments in areas that may be affected by management measures intended to help caribou recover.
Messages and concerns were received by Donaldson and the Chamber said in a statement they are optimistic that meaningful action will be taken to address those concerns.
“Our network will continue to focus on strategies that protect both our iconic caribou and thriving local economies and communities,” said 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.”