Fort Nelson officials speak with Ministers on forest tenure and lack of 9-1-1 service at UBCM

Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development Minister Doug Donaldson meets with Northern Rockies Mayor Bill Streeper. Photo by Northern Rockies Regional Municipality

FORT NELSON, B.C. – Officials from the Northern Rockies Regional Municipality travelled to the 2017 Union of BC Municipalities annual convention in September.

The Northern Rockies’ delegation included Mayor Bill Streeper, Regional Councillor Daniel Soles and support staff who told the Ministers of the challenges facing the community firsthand. Over the course of two separate meetings, the delegation told Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development Minister Doug Donaldson of the Municipality’s need for available forest tenure to attract any viable and sustainable investment from the sector.

The constraints on tenure were detailed to Donaldson, including Canfor’s monopoly on tenure and failure to produce local value with their forest licenses over the past decade, the delays in the Timber Supply Review IV, and potential impacts on the Annual Allowable Cut through the unresolved Boreal Caribou Restoration Implementation Plan.

The delegation also met with Public Safety Minister and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth to share the community’s concerns about the lack of 9-1-1 services. “Our region is one of the last in BC to be without 9-1-1,” said Mayor Bill Streeper. “Geographically, that’s ten percent of the province where, in a crisis, a person can’t just call that simple number for help.”

While the Municipality did ask the Ministry to support the activation of 9-1-1 service in the region, it was also noted that limited cellular connectivity along the Alaska Highway corridor creates some concern to the effectiveness of the service overall.

“The meetings we had at this year’s UBCM conference were very productive,” said Streeper. “We look forward to working with the Province to turn their commitments into reality for our local residents.”

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