The provincial government has set dates for a series of public consultations on the Columbia River Treaty renegotiations in communities across the Kootenay region.
The treaty, which involves a water storage agreement between Canada and the U.S., was signed in 1964 and helps manage flood control and power generation on both sidees of the border.
Talks formally began in Washington, D.C. this week.
“As we begin negotiations around the future of the Columbia River Treaty, our government is committed to engaging in meaningful consultation,” said Katrine Conroy, Minister responsible for the Columbia River Treaty. “We will continue to work closely with First Nations affected by the treaty, to ensure Indigenous interests are reflected in the negotiations. We also want to ensure Columbia Basin communities are consulted, kept informed and have their voices heard.”
At the time the treaty was signed over 50 years ago, the U.S. agreed to pay Canada $64 million over 60 years to adjust reservoir levels of over 15.5 million acre-feet of water. The agreement facilitated the construction of the Mica, Duncan, and Keeleyside dams in British Columbia, while the Libby Dam is located in Montana.
In exchange for water storage in places such as the Lake Koocanusa reservoir, Canada receives upwards of $250 million per year from the U.S. as a result of power generation benefits.
Priorities that weren’t considered when the treaty was first enacted include the loss of Indigenous traditional territory due to the construction of the reservoirs as well as the impact to salmon in the Columbia River.
The public meetings will allow officials the opportunity to provide updates on the talks between Canada and the U.S. as well as gather feedback about what priorities should be considered during negotiations.
The meetings will take place in the following communities and run between 6 pm to 9 pm:
• Meadow Creek: June 11, 2018 – Lardeau Valley Community Club, 13429 Hwy 31
• Jaffray: June 12, 2018 – Jaffray Hall, 7369 Jaffray Village Loop Rd.
• Creston: June 13, 2018 – Creston and District Community Complex, 312 9th Ave. N
• Castlegar: June 14, 2018 – Castlegar and District Community Complex, 2101 6th Ave.
• Nelson: June 15, 2018 – Nelson Rod and Gun Club, 801 Railway St.
• Valemount: June 18, 2018 – Valemount Community Hall, 201 Gorse St.
• Revelstoke: June 19, 2018 – Revelstoke Community Centre, 600 Campbell Ave.
• Golden: June 20, 2018 – Golden Civic Centre, 898 Hwy 95
• Nakusp: June 21, 2018 – Nakusp and District Sports Complex, 200 8th Ave. NW