The CEED Centre is endorsing the Maple Ridge Council report that called on the federal government to reverse Bill C38 amendments that weaken fish habitat protection.
Members at our annual general meeting voted to back council’s recommendations. The stewardship groups in Maple Ridge and the local government itself are showing real leadership in protecting our watershed. We would like to send a strong message that we stand behind our watershed as a united community.
Council struck an ad hoc task force to assess the changes to the Fisheries Act and adopted its recommendations.
After consulting with Mission-Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows MP Randy Kamp, parliamentary secretary to the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, the task force came back with six recommendations, including a request to “retain the existing protection language for fish habitat and fisheries rather than changing the Fisheries Act to limit protection to only certain fisheries.”
The task force also asked for clarification of the rationale for the changes and any scientific information on which the decision was based. Moreover, it requested appropriate levels of staffing for the Department of Fisheries and Oceans for community enhancement and restoration initiatives, habitat management and protection programs, and monitoring and compliance efforts.
Maple Ridge is loaded with rivers and watercourses that contribute greatly to its social, cultural and economic well-being. They are being protected at the grassroots level primarily by the Alouette River Management Society (ARMS) and the Kanaka Education and Environmental Partnership Society (KEEPS), which both operate salmon hatcheries and provide watershed education.
The District has mapped environmentally sensitive areas and created management strategies to protect them, including standard stream setbacks for development that are higher than the provincial standards.
The CEED Centre helped to organize an environmental council in late 2005 to bring environmentally active organizations together on issues of common interest. The Maple Ridge Pitt Meadows Environmental Council (MRPMEC) was the result. It currently enjoys the participation of 12 local organizations.
We would like to bring this issue to the full membership of MRPMEC to provide further evidence that our community is serious about protecting our rivers for future generations, not just for the temporary economic boost of a resource extraction project or a river diversion.
Christian Cowley, CEED Centre Society