It was caribou questions, concerns and confusion Saturday morning at the GDI.
It was a packed 120 plus ballroom for the CCCR - the Concerned Citizens for Caribous Recovery met in a public setting to note no one from government is talking to them.
“We have heard nothing,” said Kathleen Connolly during opening remarks.
Tim Schram with Corlane’s noted unity in the room.
“I see a lot of familiar faces. Back country enthusiasts. People. This threatens our livelihoods. It is a serious threat,” he said.
“The government is doing this behind closed doors. This is real and happening.”
A CCCR petition has over 24,000 signatures - yet there has been no information coming from the provincial government, says every single local stakeholder.
“We believe the government doesn’t know what the herd counts are. We ask for herd and data management plans predation, etc. It has not come at all,” adds Connolly.
“We’re talking 229 animals in five herds. 291 animals, yet this will affect the area significantly.”
“BC could be a national park,” noted Member of Parliament Bob Zimmer.
“I represent 107,000 people and we are not being invited.”
Connolly noted that this area is likely a canary in a coalmine for the rest of the province, and other species.
“This is just the start - we could be talking sheep, bison, mountain goat, birds, vegetation.”
South Peace MLA Mike Bernier agreed.
“BC is a template what happens here will follow for the rest of the province.”
Former MLA Blair Lekstrom said the planning deck was stacked against the Peace.
“They will be talking to us with a draft document in their hands - that will be hard to change.”
Others note SARA, the Species At Risk Act - to prevent wildlife from disappearing is at the heart of the issue.
“The attendance here shows we take caribous seriously,” said Connolly about the morning session.
Another meeting goes this Saturday in Chetwynd.