The Columbia River Treaty Review Team was in Golden for the last round of consultations on March 20.
This is the third time the team has been to Golden in the past 10 months, and has gained valuable feedback from around the Basin said Kathy Eichenberger, executive director of the review team.
“The consultation plan has kept evolving based on the input we’ve received,” she said.
Not only has the team gathered feedback from these community meetings, but also via Twitter, Facebook, and a running blog.
The crowd at the Golden Civic Centre was smaller than in previous consultations, but still actively engaged in the process.
The government has to decide whether or not to continue with the water management treaty signed between Canada and the United States.
The review team has worked out what the picture would look like if Canada continues the treaty, and if it terminates the treaty. If Canada terminates the treaty it would allow for more flexibility with our water operations, including our dams and reservoirs, but we would lose the Canadian Entitlement (the amount of money the US pays for the benefits of the Canadian storage operation, which increases US power generation).
The US is making the argument that they are paying too much Canadian Entitlement, and are suggesting they would like to pay 10 per cent of what they are now.
If that is their offer when they renegotiate the treaty, Canada will likely terminate said Eichenberger.
There were several concerns raised in the audience, particularly in regards to the loss of access to certain parts of the region and its impact on forestry.
These concerns are not directly related to the treaty, as they are domestic issues. But Eichenberger agreed that the review process was a good opportunity to address those issues.
This is the last consultation that will be coming through town, but concerned residents can still submit feedback and ask questions online at blog.gov.bc.ca/columbiarivertreaty.