The future of the Fish and Wildlife Compensation Program comes down to whether it should be part of government or run independently.

Fate of Kootenay fish program looms

A steering committee directed to address the future of the Fish and Wildlife Compensation Program is closer to a final recommendation.

A steering committee directed to address the future of the Fish and Wildlife Compensation Program is coming closer to a final recommendation.

Local employees of the program were handed pink slips last fall after BC Hydro implemented various cost saving measures.

Columbia region program manager Trevor Oussoren told Nelson city council last week the committee has been working through a decision making process, towards a November deadline.

“The models I shared in the meeting are what we’ve heard from stakeholders,” he said following the presentation. “Those models were frontrunners.”

The two models are Fish and Wildlife Compensation program staff working for the Ministry of Fish, Lands and Natural Resource Operations or an “independent distinct organization.”

“There is designated funding to the positions in the first model where they aren’t necessarily government-funded positions but have designated funding instead,” said Oussoren.

Even though the second model is independent, according to discussions in the steering committee, even in the independent model the program manager should be BC Hydro staff, based in the region with technical/biological expertise.

In the independent model there would still be $4 million from BC Hydro designated to the program annually.

Oussoren said with the Ministry model, staff positions would be more secure in concept because of the designated funding.

Following the decision by BC Hydro last fall, many local organizations and groups including Nelson city council voiced concern around moving local positions to Vancouver and Victoria.

Oussoren said it’s his understanding the program will retain experienced staff in the region.

Councillor Donna Macdonald, who voiced concern around the changes to the program, said last week’s presentation eased her mind to a large extent.

“I was just such a shock when all of a sudden the program was cancelled in its old form,” said Macdonald. “As we learned tonight they did that basically to reduce the number of positions and had no plan on how to continue the program in its valuable work.”

Of the two presented models, Macdonald said her preference would be for an independent organization.

“It would be something we can have ownership over and that we as the larger Basin community can manage and set priorities,” she said. “But I’m always fearful of having things disappear.”

According to Macdonald, with the Ministry model there is a concern positions and the program disappear into government offices.

“There is always a concern the priorities for the program might get subsumed under the priorities of that government ministry,” she said.

The new delivery model for the Columbia region is anticipated to be announced in November for implementation on April 1.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

PHOTOS: Nelson joins protests against racism, police brutality

The protest was similar to those being held throughout Canada and the United States

Game on? Nelson sports organizations wait and see

Nelson Baseball Association has already scrapped its season

RCMP: 93% of inspected boats on Kootenay Lake don’t have safety equipment

Weekend inspections found a high number of boats that don’t comply with national regulations

Temporary rail trail detour will allow upgrade to Nelson’s water source

City will be laying a water line between Stanley Street and Mountain Station parking lot

Water quality advisory issued for Nelson

Run-off has created a high level of turbidity in the city’s drinking water

VIDEO: A Vancouver Island black bear takes weekend nap in eagle tree

Videos captured by Terry Eissfeldt shows the bear arriving Saturday night and sleeping in on Sunday

Help the Nelson Star continue its mission to provide trusted local news

Black Press is now accepting donations to keep its papers operating

189 homes in Grand Forks area given evacuation orders

Homes are in the Nursery, Grand Forks Airport, Gilpin Rd., Johnson Flats and Granby Rd. areas

George Floyd asphyxiated by sustained pressure: family autopsy

Death sparked a wave of protests across the U.S. and abroad

COVID-19: B.C. commercial landlords can’t evict if they decline rent assistance

Emergency order ‘incentive’ for federal program, Carole James says

Investigators probe death of CN employee at Surrey rail yard

Transportation Safety Board is investigating an ‘occurrence that took place during switching operations’

Trans Mountain starts B.C. leg of pipeline twinning project

Mostly finished in Alberta, Burnaby terminal expanding

NDP getting COVID-19 wage subsidy ‘indirectly,’ B.C. Liberal leader says

Andrew Wilkinson says he’s heard no concerns from public

Most Read