Rural British Columbia has once again suffered a blow from the Lower Mainland-centric, top down decision making machine.
Last week it was revealed that the local Fish and Wildlife Compensation Program office will be slashed as part of BC Hydro’s scramble to get its books in order. Just like that, six people are out of jobs and one of the Crown corporation’s stellar grassroots programs is shaken.
On the compensation program’s website under “principles” it’s stated: “The program has a forward-looking, ecosystem-based approach that defines the desired outcomes and takes actions to restore, enhance and conserve priority species and their habitats.”
Cutting local staff who were on the frontlines of these important programs is hardly “forward-looking.” These people had a commitment to the program and were the local faces that proudly represented BC Hydro in our community.
The corporation says they will continue to invest the same amount of money in the program’s projects. By shifting the cash to local organizations — who carried out some of this work already — the environmental protection aspect will not be lost. Though we have complete faith in these local organizations to carry out the work, losing the oversight of paid compensation staff does shake the foundation.
Too many times government and large corporations issue decrees from their cozy offices in Victoria and Vancouver. Rarely do they step into the hinterland and think about how it impacts communities like ours.
With benefits and bonus, outgoing BC Hydro president Dave Cobb made $467,000 last year. The BC Hydro website shows eight senior vice presidents and executive vice presidents for the company and its subsidiaries. These executives each make between $328,000 and $482,000 per year.
Perhaps it’s time for BC Hydro to trim the fat in areas other than the ones that provide important value to rural British Columbia.