Second round of Columbia River Treaty discussions to be held in Golden

Discussions surrounding the Columbia River Treaty will be returning to the Golden Civic Centre on Nov. 21.

Discussions surrounding the Columbia River Treaty will be returning to the Golden Civic Centre on Nov. 21.

The evening event is a chance to join the Columbia River Treaty Review team at a community consultation workshop hosted by the Columbia River Treaty Local Governments’ Committee. Presentations and discussions begin at 6:30 p.m. and end at 9:00 p.m. During the event there will be a number of workshop topics which will include the Columbia River Treaty Local Government Committee, a look at basin interests and agency responses, reports on studies and U.S. interests and potential impact of key treaty options on Basin interests.

The workshops are free and there is no registration required.

Deb Kozak is the Chair of the Local Governments Committee for the Columbia River Treaty along with being a city councillor in Nelson B.C.

“This is a very important opportunity for people across the basin to come out and listen to what the province has prepared in terms of studies and scenarios moving forward on the treaty. It is also a rare opportunity for the province to hear from the people of the basin and get that feedback once they have talked about the studies,” Kozak said.

The feeling of how important these meetings are is also shared by Town of Golden Mayor Christina Benty who will be giving a presentation at the event.

“I know that they are coming to do their presentations and hearing from the residents again,” Benty said.

“It is very important that as many people as possible come out, hear what the province has to say and respond to it.”

Kozak said the first meetings were a success and gave people the chance to learn more about what is happening with the treaty.

“There was a tremendous amount of information given to the province and the local governments committee. It is now compiled and is now an opportunity for us to bring that information back and tell people what we have discovered and also to give more in depth information on the studies around the socio-economic impacts, environment impacts and those kinds of things.”

Benty felt the treaty has had significant impact on all basin communities.

“When it was entered in to there was very little consultation at that time. It is crucial that residents use this opportunity to participate during this go round,” she said. “A number of things have changed since the original treaty and I think it is important that residents have their view point heard. Our job at the local government committee is to help the residents to get information. That’s why Columbia Basin trust and the local governments committee are sponsoring the educational sessions in the communities.

Benty also hopes to see more young people coming out to the event because it is their future which could be affected by the upcoming decisions.

“I think it is very important for young people to come out because there is a lot of awareness of the treaty from the people who have lived here for a long time. They saw how the treaty impacted communities around the basin. It is important for young people to become educated because they are experiencing the ramifications of the treaty.”