Revelstoke MLA Doug Clovechok attended the Revelstoke Caribou Consultation Meeting last night, April 15 2019. Below is his feedback on the meeting.
“Revelstoke did not disappoint last night. There were an estimated 800 people in attendance, as well as hundreds watching the livestream. We needed to send a loud message to the current government that the Caribou recovery efforts matter to us and we achieved that with our presence. People came with thoughtful questions and they were well-prepared. This is a reflection of a community that is thoughtful and focused and driven. Revelstoke should never be underestimated.
BC needs to find their way to successful Caribou Recovery so that the Federal Government does not enact emergency measures under the Species At Risk Act. This can only be done through qualified science-based decisions and collaboration with those who know this area the best.
When the government planned this meeting, there was no consideration to meet with Revelstoke’s Mayor and Council at that time. It was only after I pressured Minister Donaldson in the House that they conceded to meet. This same exchange in the House is what revealed the date for the meeting, which bought some time for Revelstoke’s stakeholders to get a few ducks in a row and prepare for this extremely important meeting. Revelstoke is fighting for a seat at the table during the herd planning stages of this process and Mayor Sulz was told last night by the government panel that they would have it. I am hopeful that this promise is kept; the lack of transparency has propagated an underlying cloud of mistrust surrounding this process, which was communicated by many attendees last night.
There was a clear message last night: The science shows that predation is the number one threat to the Caribou. The data varies between different areas in BC, but it is confirmed that between 40-70%of caribou deaths are due to predation by wolves. The panel also told us that the scientific evidence shows that the majority of caribou deaths are not taking place in the winter. I have said it before and I will say it again: BC needs to establish a non-partisan Wildlife Management Agency that is comprised of scientists who can make decisions based on data and not emotion. Politics and Wildlife should not mix. Voter support should not sway decisions on how to manage our wildlife.
I am proud to represent the foresters, the recreational users and the stewards of our land in Columbia River-Revelstoke. I am asking for a transparent and balanced approach to Caribou Recovery that is not rushed or rolled out in haste. There is no question that everybody at the meeting last night agrees that protecting Revelstoke’s 11-15 caribou is important, but it is my job to remind this government that protecting the 8000+ residents of this valley is important too.”