Saturday, March 8, 2014

Khutzeymateen encroachment key concern for Jennifer Rice in Legislature

Thursday's proceedings of the British Columbia Legislature provided North Coast MLA Jennifer Rice opportunity to weigh in on the discussion over the Provincial Government's Second reading of Bill 4, The Park Amendment Act.

With a key concern for Ms. Rice on the theme of LNG pipeline routes and a potential threat to the Khutzeymateen grizzly bear sanctuary near Prince Rupert .

Calling on some of her experience as a naturalist, Ms. Rice outlined some of the background on the sanctuary and her concerns over some recent encroachment into the region by LNG survey crews looking to develop pipeline routes for the proposed LNG terminals of the North Coast.

You can imagine how concerned people were to learn that a contractor working for an LNG proponent started flying helicopters over the area and sending people into the ground without any permits or permission recently. They were told not once but twice — three times — that what they were doing was inappropriate, yet they did it anyway.

She framed her many of comments to Legislature around the strict guidelines that tourism operators are required to follow while in the region and to which the contractors, in her belief did not observe.

Here we are with tourism operators going above and beyond, following the letter of the law, doing what they can to protect the integrity of the reserve and minimize disruptions to grizzlies and other bears, yet these contractors would just fly in with their noisy helicopters. No doubt, these contractors would say they were doing research — research that this bill could allow, research that undermines the integrity of the only safe haven for grizzlies on the North Coast. 

Key to her concern is what she calls the vague wording of Bill 4, which she fears could undermine the reasons why many of our parks were created in the first place. Opening them up to activities that are incompatible to the nature of their development in the first place.

You can review more of her background on the Khutzeymateen, as well as her thoughts on Bill 4 from the Legislature Draft Minutes, her comments begin just before the 1150 mark.

Ms. Rice's presentation to the Legislature can also be found on the Legislature's House Video Archive for March 6th, her contribution to the discussion of Bill 4, begins at the 11:49 AM mark of the Video player.

You can review more of our items of note on Provincial politics from our Legislature Archive page.

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