‘It is an exciting time, no doubt, for what is considered to be one of the most successful transborder water treaties anywhere in the world’ ~~ Columbia River – Revelstoke MLA Doug Clovechok
The 2019 Columbia River Treaty Community Meetings Summary Report reflects in-person engagement between the Province and communities, as Canada-U.S. talks about the treaty’s future continue.
In October and November 2019, the Province hosted public meetings in 12 Columbia Basin communities: Revelstoke, Valemount, Cranbrook, Jaffray, Creston, Golden, Invermere, Genelle, Nelson, Meadow Creek, Nakusp and Fauquier.
The meetings served two purposes:
- Update communities about the current Columbia River Treaty negotiations and projects underway to address community interests.
- Give residents an opportunity to connect with the Canadian negotiating team, including the Indigenous Nations who became part of the negotiating contingent in 2019.
The document captures the presentations, feedback and discussions that took place in each community.
In addition to presentations by the negotiating team, each meeting had representatives from the Ktunaxa, Secwepemc and Syilx / Okanagan Nations provide details about work they are leading to address Columbia Basin ecosystem health and explore reintroducing salmon to the Upper Columbia River.
Speaking with me this afternoon from, the Columbia Valley, Columbia River - Revelstoke MLA Doug Clovechok stated;
“This file is truly one that is approached through an non partisan lens. The consultations provided a means through which community members from all walks of life as well as stakeholder groups could have their voices heard and recorded. The negotiation objectives and goals always have at top of mind the interests of the people of the basin”.
|Columbia River - Revelstoke|
MLA Doug Clovechok
“I am also grateful that Canada formally invited First Nations delegates to officially join the negotiations as observers as their input is critical to what the new treaty will evolve into”.
Members of the Columbia River Treaty Local Governments’ Committee shared their updated recommendations for a modernized treaty, which the committee will submit to the provincial and federal governments.
Speaking to the process, MLA Clovechok observed, “As Her Majesties Official Opposition Critic on this file, I have a very collegial working relationship with Katrine Conroy, Minister Responsible for the Columbia River Treaty.
“As an example, when the Columbia River Headwater communities were not included in the public consultations, I immediately requested that a meeting be scheduled; the Minister agreed, and a packed house meeting happened shortly thereafter in Invermere".
The BC government’s Columbia River Treaty Team concluded the meetings by detailing various community projects in development to address some of the treaty-related issues raised by Columbia Basin residents over the years.
These include the Columbia River Treaty Heritage Project, a proposed touring route that aims to acknowledge what was lost in the BC Columbia Basin as a result of the treaty dams.
“It is an exciting time, no doubt, for what is internationally considered to be one of the best and most successful transborder water treaties anywhere in the world.
COVID-19 has certainly created new challenges for the negotiations, but I am confident solutions will be found”, Clovechok concluded.