Conservatives recognise the many mutual benefits that will evolve from all parties working together to create a sustainable management plan for BC’s resources, vast wilderness, and countless waterways
Today, BC’s Conservative took a moment out from Thanksgiving festivities, to respond to a questionnaire provided to them from the BC Wildlife Federation. The questionnaire covered a number of topics including management and conservation, habitat and water sustainability, parks and public access, fish and aquaculture, and predator management.
“Hundreds of thousands of our party’s members live, work and play in rural BC, and we will always fight hard for it’s preservation, and for sustainable management”, observed party leader Trevor Bolin this morning.
Because of this, we are greatly concerned by continued government inaction in providing the necessary financial resources required by the Ministry of Environment.
Said Bolin, “Revenues generated from licenses and tags are not used for their intended purposes; instead, recent governments have put that revenue into general”
“These revenues must be used for the purpose intended; to regenerate habitat that has been damaged or impacted by human impacts”.
Additionally, Government should be reviewing and enhancing bonds that are issued to industrial companies for resource development. These bonds should be comparable to current costs to remediate damaged landscapes throughout the Province.
BC’s Conservatives are also committed to appropriate and timely consultation with local government, First Nations, industry, guide outfitters, trappers, tenure, range holders and recreationalists.
“Socio-economic impact assessments must also be a part of the consultation process -- and provided in a timely manner -- so that regions can best mitigate potential losses of industrial or commercial revenue and plan accordingly”, commented Bolin.
Furthermore, Conservatives recognize the many mutual benefits that will evolve from all party’s working together to create a sustainable management plan for BC’s resources, its vast wilderness, and its countless waterways.
“With a shared commitment to use protect and enjoy what all of us have been blessed with, will we see long-lasting agreements take place”, Bolin concluded.
The following is the full document which was prepared by BC’s Conservatives, for the BC Wildlife Federation, in response to your BCWF Questions for Candidates and Political Parties.
Our Platform does cover some of your questions and our policies which can be found at www.bcconservative.ca/platform under Section 10.3 and 10.4, however we have expanded on the specific points below as well:
1. Fish and Wildlife Conservation and Management:
We believe the factor most negatively impacting B.C.’s fish and wildlife is Government inaction in increasing funding to the responsible ministry.
Revenues generated from licenses and tags are not used for their intended purposes; instead, recent governments have put that revenue into general. These revenues could and should be used to regenerate habitat that has been damaged or impacted by human impacts. Additionally, Government should be reviewing and enhancing bonds that are issued to industrial companies for resource development. These bonds should be comparable to current costs to remediate damaged landscapes throughout the Province.
We also feel a rigorous review should be completed to ensure industrial companies are meeting the regulatory expectations of land use and management. Funds generated from tag sales could be used to hire additional enforcement and compliance officers and ensure a Made in BC approach is followed.
Elected representatives for BC’s Conservatives will push for legislative changes including a proper predator/prey management such as bringing back a managed grizzly bear hunt. The wolf cull could and should be used as a primary method of controlling predators, as this has been proven and stated by the current government. Species at risk legislation needs to be better understood, and regulatory components must be funded appropriately to sustain and restore declining populations in British Columbia.
We must include appropriate and timely consultation with local government, First Nations, industry, guide outfitters, trappers, tenure, range holders and recreationalists. Socio-economic impact assessments must also be a part of the consultation process -- and provided in a timely manner -- so that regions can best mitigate potential losses of industrial or commercial revenue and plan accordingly. Based on our data, the funds from the tags, as well as revenue from the Wolf Cull and carefully managed Grizzly Hunt, would ensure adequate funds are allocated towards the sustainability, protection, and growth well into the future.
2. Habitat and Water Sustainability:
BC’s Conservatives would immediately start working in conjunction with a team of local experts from each region to compile a list of most critical watersheds, and from that data create a unique mitigation plan for each one. Funding can be made available from the sale of licenses which we feel would increase annually upon a supported and engaged plan as we have laid out.
First Nations, along with local municipal and regional district governments, would be a key part of the restoration process working together right from the start of the plan, and working with other groups such as the BCWF, Ducks Unlimited and other organizations who have decades of knowledge and experience of the issues and concerns for each watershed.
Local economies in many communities rely on fisheries and water for tourism, and we feel our province has a unique opportunity to see them expanded. Government should be a champion for this industry through a well communicated and executed Made in BC plan which could be implemented immediately.
3. Parks and Public Access:
All British Columbians have the well warranted expectation that our parks and public access should be adequately funded and well maintained.
We are committed to having a positive and respectful stakeholder engaged team made up of First Nations, local Governments, regional districts, wildlife groups and organizations. This stakeholder group must be given a mandate to ensure adequate, safe, and permitted access are key components to respecting the lands of First Nations cultures and local government regulations. This will then allow British Columbians to access parks, public access and backcountry for recreational learning and enjoyment.
Without a doubt, more education is needed, which could be funded by a required online Environmental 101 course that all backcountry users must have: it should be a mandatory Made in B.C. option for all access to B.C.’s recreational back country parks and public access points for crown land.
Fines need to be increased for those who negatively impact the landscape, watersheds or wildlife. The larger fines and more stringent guidelines would offset the cost of additional conservation officers. There may be a possibility to work with industry as part of reclamation processes that would see appropriately vetted areas turned into park areas and not returned to their natural state.
4. Fish and Aquaculture
First and foremost, BC’s Conservatives would work with licensed anglers, fishing and tour companies, industry, local levels of government and the leaders of our Indigenous communities to ensure a safe and sustainable practice for not only rebuilding, but ensuring the longevity of this industry and the species native to our waters.
The timing in creating this committee needs to be immediate; it will need to be an open forum design to ensure all stakeholders are at the table. The committee approach will ensure all parties are represented with a long-term plan to ensure our footprint can continue to ensure species thrive while the industry is rebuilt.
5. Predator Management:
Predator prey management is critical to managing ungulate populations as well as other species at risk, including fisheries. The science has proven the importance of this method throughout not only Canada, but other countries as well. Under a well created and communicated management plan, we can ensure longevity through a predator management plan following the science that has shown us our efforts can and will be rewarded through working with groups such as your own.
In closing, we look forward to working with you well into the future to preserve every British Columbians’ right to recreation. We anticipate the mutual benefits that will evolve from a sustainable industry; and that with First Nations and Local Government consultation, we will see long term benefits for generations to come, from a well created Management plan.
Thank you for all your years of dedication to the science and protection of our environment, watersheds, wildlife, fish and aquaculture.