Taxpayers should not assist with ‘historical neglect’ of Creston Valley wildlife area

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To the Editor:

In the Dec. 12 issue of your paper, a front page headline declared that the four Regional District of Central Kootenay directors from areas A, B, C and the Town of Creston were joining a local committee to deal with issues at the Creston Valley Wildlife Management Area (CVWMA).

Whether it means anything or not, I wish to declare that this is the best news I have heard in a long time. It means the public will have a form of representation to the management of the CVWMA after years of being shunted out.

Having said that, I wish to declare my personal opinion: The taxpayers of the RDCK should not pay one cent to the remedy process of the “historical neglect” that has taken place by the management authorities and the government of B.C. in the past 40-plus years. Unless these RDCK directors are donating their time, that is precisely what is going to happen. If they are not donating their time and all the directors present their normal charge for attending meetings and for travel, costs could run as high as $600 a meeting.

I wish to respectfully suggest that the first order of business should be that the committee applies for funding from earned dollars produced by the Columbia River development to cover costs of this committee. Earned dollars are the millions of dollars in downstream benefits contributed to the Columbia Basin Trust to compensate for storage of water. These dollars should be paid to the RDCK to compensate the total cost of the RDCK helping to remedy the historical neglect of the CVWMA.

It must forever be remembered that the Columbia River development destroyed a natural wetland, which had to be reclaimed to an artificial wetland. In the process, the powers in charge never put in place a proper management authority and funding to support this important transformation. The results are physically visible in neglected access maintenance, blocking of public accesses and compromising of the river dike by grazing livestock.

Cyril Colonel