The Hugh Keenleyside Dam near Castlegar was one of three built as part of the Columbia River Treaty. It has had a huge impact on the Columbia River valley all the way to Revelstoke. Photo: Contributed

Latest round of Columbia River Treaty talks wrap up in Cranbrook

Federal, provincial, U.S. and Indigenous representatives recently met for eight round of discussions

The eighth round of negotiations over the Columbia River Treaty wrapped up in Cranbrook on Wednesday, as representatives continued to work towards modernizing a decades-old water management agreement between Canada and the United States.

Delegates from the federal and provincial levels of government, along with the U.S. and First Nations, met for the talks in the ʔaq’am Community, where members from the Ktunaxa, Syilx/Okanagan and Secwepemc made presentations on the impacts of the treaty, according to Katrine Conroy, the provincial minister responsible for the negotiations.

“I think its great that the negotiations are back in the Basin,” said Conroy, the MLA for Kootenay West.

“…In the latest round of talks, the eighth round, the delegations talked about issues related to flood risk management and hydro power, as well as ecosystem co-operation. To that end, on behalf of Canada and B.C., there were representatives from the three First Nations, the Ktunaxa, Syilx/Okanagan and Secwepemc — they made presentations on ecosystem functions and salmon reintroduction.”

READ: Feds announce Indigenous inclusion in Columbia River Treaty talks

The Columbia River Treaty is a water management agreement that was signed between Canada and the United States in 1964. The treaty stipulated the construction of three dams on the Canadian side — Duncan, Hugh L. Keenleyside and Mica — while a fourth was constructed in Libby, MT.

In exchange for flood control, Canada also receives a share of incremental benefits from downstream power generation.

The treaty has been criticized for its lack of consultation with communities, particularly First Nations, when it came into effect over 50 years ago. The construction of the dams flooded approximately 110,000 hectares of land that impacted farms, tourism, forestry and Indigenous territory.

Conroy noted that the discussions around the treaty are important for future Basin residents who may be impacted by the renegotiated terms.

“I think it’s important, from my perspective as the Minister — and I’ve talked with [federal] Minister [Chrystia] Freeland about this — is that these are ongoing negotiations because these are negotiations that are going to affect generations to come, of people who live in the Basin,” Conroy said.

“50-60 years ago, when the initial discussions happened about the Columbia River Treaty, nobody was consulted. Nobody that lives in the Basin was consulted, the Indigenous people from the nation were not consulted and we need to make sure that this doesn’t happen again.

“It’s critically important that the voices of the people in the Basin are part of the negotiations at the table.”

Conroy added that the ongoing talks are going to take time and that a ninth round of discussions will occur in the United States in November, either in Washington DC or in one of the four states impacted by the Treaty — Washington, Idaho, Montana or Oregon.

There are two public consultation and information sessions coming up in the East Kootenay regarding the Columbia River Treaty. The College of the Rockies will be hosting one on Oct. 22 from 5-8 p.m. while the Jaffray Community Hall will be hosting a session the next day at the same time.



trevor.crawley@cranbrooktownsman.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Creston Valley Hospital addresses COVID-19 rumours regarding farms

‘Not one seasonal worker in Creston has tested positive for COVID-19,’ said Dr. Nerine Kleinhans

Creston ‘bunker’ receives a mural facelift thanks to local artist, Calgary painters

The marsh landscape mural was brought to life by Calgary’s Daniel J. Kirk and Lane Shordee, who sought to honour the area’s original terrain.

Creston Save-On-Foods prevented more than 100,00 kg of food from going to waste

Since May 2019, the grocery store has also helped to provide 127,196 meals to residents

Kootenay doctor among 82 physicians, dentists calling on province for mandatory mask rule

Open letter says masks should be worn in indoor public spaces, public transportation or in crowds

310 vehicle crashes in Creston between 2015 and 2019

The intersection where 10th Avenue North, Canyon Street, Cook Street and Northwest Boulevard meet accounted for the most crashes

371 British Columbians battling COVID-19, health officials confirm

Thursday (Aug. 6) saw a second straight day of nearly 50 new confirmed cases

Smoker Farms bringing craft-style cannabis to Beaverdell

Husband-wife team growing small-scale cultivations of marijuana

Visitors and non-residents entering closed remote B.C. First Nation’s territories

With limited resources, they say they don’t have any authority or power to enforce the closures

UBC loses appeal on Fisheries Act convictions

BC Supreme Court upholds order to pay $1.55-million fine

Masks to be mandatory on BC Transit, TransLink starting Aug. 24

Both BC Transit and TransLink made the announcement in separate press releases on Thursday

Acclaimed B.C. actor Brent Carver passes away

Carver, one of Canada’s greatest actors with a career spanning 40 years, passed away at home in Cranbrook

B.C. would not send students back to school if there was ‘overwhelming risk’: Horgan

Plan has left many parents across the province worried about their children’s safety

Canucks blank Wild 3-0, take series lead in penalty-filled NHL qualifying clash

Jacob Markstrom stops 27 shots to lead Vancouver past Minnesota

Most Read