The Peace River Regional District board voted May 7 to keep its associate membership with Alberta’s Northwest Species at Risk Committee (NWSAR).

The committee was formed in 2016, with PRRD joining in 2019. Board members expressed mixed feelings on the value of the membership.

“I don’t know how effective it was. I’ve got mixed feeling whether we continue this or not,” said director Dan Rose, noting the $1,000 mandatory fee for membership.

Caribou recovery is a shared goal, said PRRD chair Brad Sperling. The board also voted on Southern Mountain Caribou matters today.

“I agree we should we keep our membership, down the road this is going to be about more than just caribou. There’s a lot of species at risk,” said Sperling.

NWSAR is recognized by Alberta and the federal government, with its main focus being Northwest Alberta Boreal Caribou, along with Wood Bison and Grizzly Bears.

“They’ve got counties and we’ve got regions,” said Chetwynd Mayor Allen Courtoreille, recommending that they stay in contact despite the differences.

Founding members include Mackenzie County, County of Northern Lights, Clear Hills County and the Towns of High Level, Rainbow Lake and Manning. Other associates include the County of Grande Prairie, Northern Sunrise County, Saddle Hills County, Opportunity, Fairview, Big Lakes County, High Prairie and Fox Creek.

“When you take a look at getting some work done on the ground, I’d pay more to connect with our neighbours than UBCM,” said Fort St. John Mayor Ackerman, criticizing the membership cost for the Union of BC Municipalities.

The PRRD pays roughly $11,000 to be part of the UBCM. Membership is not required to access provincial funding from UBCM, noted Ackerman, in favour of the much smaller NWSAR fee. 

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