Executive director for the Columbia River Treaty Review Kathy Eichenberg answers questions during the Community meeting held June 19, 2018 at the Revelstoke Community Centre. (Nathan Kunz/Revelstoke Review)

Province releases report on Columbia River Treaty public feedback

Reservoir levels, fair compensation for impacted communities, among many issues raised

Welcoming Indigenous voices and regular updates were key general themes that emerged as part of a series of meetings designed to collect public feedback over the renegotiation of the Columbia River Treaty.

The meetings, held in communities across the Columbia Basin region last fall, highlighted resident concerns with the negotiations, which include reduced reservoir fluctuations, fair compensation for impacted communities, more support for the agricultural sector, a local government role in treaty governance and continued work led by Indigenous nations to address ecosystem and salmon reintroduction.

Meetings were held in Revelstoke, Valemount, Cranbrook, Jaffray, Creston, Golden, Invermere, Genelle, Nelson, Meadow Creek, Nakusp and Fauquier which included members of the Canadian negotiating team and Indigenous representatives.

The provincial government released a summary report detailing specific concerns and issues raised in each communities throughout the feedback process.

Two years ago, Canada and the United States began discussions over the renegotiation of the Columbia River Treaty, a water-sharing and flood management agreement between the two nations. In April 2019, Indigenous representation from the Ktunaxa, Secwepemc and Syilx/Okanagan Nations were added to the negotiations as observers.

The Columbia River Treaty, signed in 1964, led to the construction of three dams on the Canadian side and one in the U.S., which provide flood control downstream of the Kootenai River in Montana and Washington.

The three dams on the Canadian side — Keenleyside, Duncan and Mica — account for roughly half of BC Hydro’s power generation, while the treaty allows for significant power generation at U.S. hydroelectric facilities, according to the province.

However, the treaty has been criticized for a lack of consultation with Indigenous communities, as reservoirs flooded out traditional territories and adversely impacted the regional ecosystem, particularly for fish species.

Under the terms of the agreement, the United States pre-paid Canada $64 million for 60 years to provide flood control operations downstream into Montana and Washington, while also paying Canada half of the potential power that could be produced.

Since the renegotiations began, there have been nine rounds of talks between dignitaries that have been hosted in regional communities as well as in Washington D.C. The treaty itself has no end date, however, either nation can unilaterally terminate the agreement after 2024, provided that a decade of advance notice is given.



trevor.crawley@cranbrooktownsman.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

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

Just Posted

RDCK to implement new emergency alert notification system

System also includes sends alerts for water advisories

From baseball stars to forest fires: Southeast Fire Centre water bomber has an interesting past

Tanker 489 is stationed in Castlegar this year, but in the 1960s it belonged to the L.A. Dodgers.

Traffic finally eases along Arrow Lakes ferry routes

Motorists were stuck for up to six hours in ferry lineups over the weekend

Shoppers Drug Mart launches in-store virtual service at several B.C. stores

The service is now available in 12 rural B.C. communities and will expand province-wide in August

Milestone RCMP Cops For Kids fundraiser ride going virtual

You can join and help RCMP raise funds for families and possibly win 20th anniversary cycling shirt

B.C. identifies 20 new COVID-19 cases, travellers specified in count

Pandemic total 3,028 cases, 51 people from outside Canada

Survey, hotline launched amid probe into racist blood-alcohol guessing game at B.C. hospital

Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond has been appointed to lead an investigation by Health Minister Adrian Dix

Canadian policing organization calls for decriminalization of simple illicit drug possession

Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police want policing focus of opioid crisis to be replaced with a health one

Filing deadline in RCMP sexual-harassment class-action extended due to COVID-19

Plaintiffs now have until January 2021 to submit claims for up to $222,000

Jamie Bacon pleads guilty to charge in Surrey Six case

The plea brings an end to a complex legal case that has spanned more than a decade

Hefty undeclared driver charges piling up, ICBC warns customers

Average extra penalty $2,971 after an at-fault accident

B.C. appeals judge’s decision to leave three clubhouses in Hells Angels hands

The province has filed two notices of appeal related to the B.C. Supreme Court decision

Conservation officers relocate Spirit bear known to roam northwestern B.C.

Bear roamed valley north of Terrace for many years

B.C. premier applauds call to decriminalize drug possession

Police shouldn’t struggle with health issues, Horgan says

Most Read