County endorses caribou resolution

Richard Froese
South Peace News

Big Lakes County has joined several northern Alberta rural municipalities urging the federal government to consult municipalities in the Species at Risk Act to protect caribou.

At its regular meeting May 9, council approved a request from the Alberta Northwest Species at Risk Committee to present a late resolution at the Federation of Canadian Municipalities annual conference May 31 to June 3 in Halifax.

“We understand that federal and provincial Acts of Parliament, such as the Species at Risk Act, include decision-making authority that can supersede municipal authority, which can enable the protection the protection of lands directly impacting municipal operations without meaningful support,” Reeve Ken Matthews writes in a letter to the committee.

The resolution calls on the FCM “to urge the Government of Canada to endorse municipal involvement as recognized partners in the exploration agreements under the Species at Risk Act”.

The resolution is sponsored by Mackenzie County, leading the grassroots organization initiated by the six most-northwestern municipalities in Alberta, which also includes the Town of High Level, the Town of Manning, the Town of Rainbow Lake, Clear Hills County and the County of Northern Lights.

Municipal members of the committee, and many other municipalities across Canada, are “very concerned about the potential impacts” that jurisdictional caribou range planning could have on municipal budgets, operations and services, states information from the committee.

Non-government organizations are applying tremendous pressure on federal and jurisdictional governments to implement caribou range plans as soon as possible, which include permanent protection of vast landscapes across the northern part of Canada for caribou.

In March, the Government of Alberta suspended conservation considerations pending a comprehensive economic-impact analysis and further support from the federal government.


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