Prime Minister John Diefenbaker (left) and U.S. President Dwight Eisenhower at the signing of the Columbia River Treaty, January 1961. File photo

Province releases report on Nelson’s Columbia River Treaty public meeting

Fifty people attended Nelson’s meeting in June

In June the provincial government held community meetings at 10 locations around the Columbia Basin region, inviting residents to contribute their ideas on the renegotiation of the Columbia River Treaty.

The province recently published a summary report on the meetings.

According to the report, the top priorities of Nelson participants are:

The negotiation process. There was concern about the non-involvement of First Nations, including the Sinixt, and a desire for more data collection and more formal communication between local community meetings and the negotiators.

Ecosystem protection and restoration. Participants want to see water conservation, the reintroduction of salmon to the area, and the use of Indigenous research on ecosystem function, education about watershed protection, especially for youth. There was also a desire for restored wildlife habitats in the Duncan Dam area, including a fish passage at the Duncan Dam.

Recognizing and addressing impacts. Concerns also included the need for adequate funding to address damage to the area and the desire for cross-boundary community forums.

There was also a call for better flood risk management and development of alternative energy sources.

The report says that some Nelson participants were skeptical about the low turnout at the community meeting, especially among young people. They were concerned about the apparent lack of advance community engagement, suggesting that the meeting should have been better publicized and that community groups should have been engaged in the weeks before the meeting.

Negotiators for the federal government, the province and the U.S. government met on Dec. 12 and 13 in Vancouver and will continue in February in Washington, D.C.

Related:

• U.S. payment to Canada a focus at Columbia River Treaty negotiations

• B.C., U.S. negotiators want big changes to Columbia River Treaty

• First meeting of Columbia River Treaty talks went well, minister says

• COLUMN: The Columbia River Treaty: Dialogue through Difference Begins

• Have you heard of Renata?

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