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UBCM: Caribou Recovery Planning Update

UBCM has met with provincial staff to seek additional information on the role of local governments in caribou recovery. Late last month, the province announced that the partnership agreement between the federal government, provincial government, West Moberly First Nation and Saulteau First Nation had been amended to clarify how local governments will be involved in the caribou recovery process.

Several changes have been made to the final partnership agreement, in reference to local governments:

  1. Under the Commitments to New Conversation Measures and Protected Areas, the objective is to establish new conservation measures and protected areas that will “promote reconciliation by providing for the participation of local governments in caribou recovery initiatives” (section 7(f)).
  2. In reference to the Caribou Recovery Committee, Committee members “may agree to invite representatives from other organizations, including local government and First Nations, to attend parts of the meeting” (Schedule 1, section j).
  3. This section also advises that, “where appropriate, British Columbia will consult with and seek input from a local government about issues before the Committee that may affect the interests of local government” (Schedule 1, section k).
  4. With respect to Managing Motorized Recreation, the “design and implementation of the management plan will be undertaken jointly with representatives of the other Parties, and in consultation with technical experts, First Nations, local governments and snowmobile clubs” (section 37).

Provincial staff have clarified that the Caribou Recovery Committee is not a decision-making committee, but rather a committee that will provide recommendations to government on resource development applications on Crown land. Given that not all issues coming to this Committee will be of interest to local governments, provincial staff will work with elected officials in the North East to categorize the applications for review to ensure that local governments have a voice on the applications that affect their communities.

It was also noted that local governments have been invited to participate on the Land Use Objective Technical Committee. This group will develop land use objectives, which will act as a guiding document for the Caribou Recovery Committee.

Local governments interested in participating on the Committees, or have questions about caribou recovery implementation, can contact David Muter, Executive Director, Species at Risk Recovery Branch.

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