Columbia River Treaty info session coming to Golden

A new session of discussion will be happening about the Columbia River Treaty.

The Columbia River Treaty Local Governments’ Committee is hosting information sessions in seven communities-including Golden on Tuesday, June 19 to inform Basin residents on how to take part in the provincial consultations on the Columbia River Treaty (CRT).

The Province is getting set to do its consultation to review the 1964 Columbia River Treaty between Canada and the U.S. this spring. The sessions are one way  to consult with people in B.C. to ensure their concerns are heard.

“The information session in Golden is hosted by local governments, with support from Columbia Basin Trust, and will include an open house starting at 3 p.m., a chance to discuss issues with experts from 5 p.m. to 6:30, and a free dinner so people can continue talking and sharing ideas before the consultation workshop with the Province at 7 p.m.,” says Deb Kozak, CRT Local Governments’ Committee Chair and Councillor, City of Nelson.

The meeting in Golden will be held at the Golden Civic Centre starting with an Open House from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m., followed with a discussion from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m and a Provincial Consultation Workshop at 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

The information sessions in Golden will give residents a chance to get answers to questions they raised during 2011 information sessions and to prepare for the provincial consultation.

“It is important that residents be involved in the process and engage in positive and productive dialogue on the future of the CRT,” says Christina Benty, Mayor, Town of Golden and member of the CRT Local Governments’ Committee.

If you can’t attend an information session, you can learn more on your own schedule by taking an online tutorial at www.cbt.org/crt/tutorial.  For more information about any of these upcoming opportunities to learn more about the Columbia River Treaty visit www.cbt.org/crt.

“Columbia Basin Trust’s primary role is to act as a resource for Basin residents and local governments. That’s why we’re working with the Columbia River Treaty Local Governments’ Committee and the Province to ensure this region and its residents are informed and actively engaged in Treaty-related issues,” says Garry Merkel, Chair, Columbia Basin Trust Board.

The CRT is an international agreement between Canada and the United States to co-ordinate flood control and optimize hydroelectric power generation on both sides of the border.

Under the 1964 treaty, three dams were constructed in Canada, including Mica, Duncan and Hugh Keenleyside.  A fourth dam, Libby, was constructed in Montana. Its reservoir, the Koocanusa, extends 67 kilometres into Canada. Since its ratification in 1964 the CRT has influenced the management of the Columbia and Kootenay River systems in both Canada and the United States. Residents in the Columbia Basin, on both sides of the border, will be directly affected by any decision related to the future of the CRT and will shape transboundary water management across the entire Columbia Basin for decades to come.

The CRT has no official expiry date, but has a minimum length of 60 years, which is met in September 2024.

Either Canada or the United States can terminate many of the provisions of the agreement effective any time after September 2024, provided written notice is filed at least 10 years in advance (2014).

While no decision has been made by either Canada or the United States on the future of the current treaty, given the importance of the issues, and the approaching date of 2014, both countries are now conducting studies and exploring future options for the CRT.