CHETWYND, B.C. – The Peace River Regional District, in a release, is demanding that the province and the federal government suspend any further discussion on the Southern Mountain Caribou Recovery.

The Regional District says a comprehensive impact analysis must be performed looking into the impacts this project may have on the affected communities.

According to the Regional District, the Province and area First Nations are very close to signing an Agreement in Principle on the creation of a large area dedicated to the protection of the Caribou. The purpose of the area is said to be in response to the Federal Government concerns about Southern Mountain Caribou Recovery in the Burnt Pine Herd.

Sources tell PRRD that this may include loss of access by industry and the general public to a large area of approximately 420,000 acres or 650 sq. miles located from Chetwynd to Mt. Lemoray North and South. This could result in significant loss of annual cut in the forestry industry.

In May of 2018, Federal Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Catherine McKenna,
declared that a few Southern Mountain Caribou herds face “imminent threats to their
recovery”. The Province of B.C. says they have committed to protect and restore caribou habitat.

The Regional District says it is supportive of these efforts but know that the stakeholders who are directly affected have not been included in planning and that all initiatives must be a result of science and evidence-based analysis.

According to the Regional District, they and area residents have been promised stakeholder engagement in this process but it has not happened. There is concern that similar plans are in the works for the Quintette and Narraway herds in the Tumbler Ridge area and other herds throughout B.C.

“The Provincial Government does not have a mandate to continue to make deals that will devastate communities and the way of life in the PRRD without involving the residents and industrial partners in our region”.

PRRD says this analysis must be done throughout the entire Regional District to accurately measure any and all effects on the communities and way of life.