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Zimmer to host caribou townhall meeting in Prince George

Caribou in the Klinse-za maternal pen near Chetwynd, B.C., in June 2015. Tristan Brand photo.
Caribou in the Klinse-za maternal pen near Chetwynd, B.C., in June 2015. Tristan Brand photo.

Prince George-Peace River-Northern Rockies MP Bob Zimmer will host a public Southern Mountain Caribou Closures Town Hall on Saturday, February 23, to discuss the potential caribou closures and provide an opportunity for concerned residents to have their say.

The townhall will be held in the Spruce Room at the Marriott Hotel and runs from 9-11:30 a.m.

Concerns about the possible closures or restricting recreational areas in order to preserve caribou habitat have been an issue for several months. Opposition BC Liberal MLAs are also sounding the alarm bells.

Northern BC Liberal MLAs raised this issue in the legislature this week on behalf of their constituents who have shared concerns regarding closed-door meetings, limited local engagement, according to a Liberal news release.

“Over the past year British Columbians have been kept completely in the dark over the mountain caribou issue,” said Peace River North MLA Dan Davies. “One would think, with the minister presiding over a rural part of this province, that he would echo the concerns of all of his constituents. However given his comments over the weekend it seems that the minister is fine visiting his friends in an illegal blockade, but is fearful of British Columbians who have been legitimately asking for information that does and will affect their lives in rural parts of the province.”

“The minister talks about a made-in-BC solution, but so far I only see closed door meetings, cancelled information sessions and postponed promises,” added South Peace River MLA Mike Bernier. “Local MLAs and their constituents are being shut out of a process that should include all voices within the caribou territory, not just those in Victoria. I question how you effectively engage on a plan that does not connect with the local communities that will be most affected.”

Government says that a draft version of the caribou recovery plan is expected this month.