NELSON – About a dozen representatives of local environmental organizations met with Hon. George Heyman, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy and local MLA Michelle Mungall last weekend to discuss pressing environmental issues in the Nelson-Creston region.
The hour-long discussion focused on issues of conservation, parks, wildlife, and lake ecosystems in the Kootenays. Attendees included representatives of the West Kootenay Eco Society, Nature Conservancy of Canada, Friends of Kootenay Lake, Salmo Watershed Streamkeepers Society, Central Kootenay Invasive Species Society, Yellowstone to Yukon, and Living Lakes Canada. Topics covered included the importance of access to meaningful data on water quality and options for building cooperation across government ministries on environmental issues.
British Columbians have an opportunity to share their ideas on environmental policy in B.C. through the Province’s online engagement platform, govTogetherBC. There are currently public consultations open on environmental issues including old growth forests, and preparing for and responding to the impacts of climate change. Learn more and participate by visiting: https://engage.gov.bc.ca/govtogetherbc/.
“Here in the Kootenays, we work hard to safeguard our environment. I am proud of all the work these local organizations are doing to protect our land, air and water, so it was very good that my colleague Minister Heyman could hear directly from them. It helps him in his work as Minister for Environment and Climate Change Strategy and strengthens local organizations’ relationships and partnerships with the government.”— Michelle Mungall, MLA for Nelson-Creston
“I learned a lot about what the residents of Nelson-Creston see as local environmental priorities, from clean water to wildlife habitat to climate risks. Our conversation is invaluable to me as our ministry considers resource priorities and policies and how we can better connect with regional concerns. I also want to thank the local environment and conservation volunteers for all that they do – from raising local awareness about invasive species prevention to habitat restoration – they contribute to their region and to our province.”—George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy
“It was groundbreaking for MLA Mungall to invite Minister of Environment Heyman to hear the suggestions of environmental thinkers in the West Kootenay, I believe it underscores the growing reality that the environment is quickly becoming the planet’s premier social justice issue and the realization that our organizations help make the ‘Place Where We Live’ better.”—Gerry Nellestjin, Salmo Watershed and Streamkeepers Society
“It is always good to have time with a cabinet minister, and rare to have time with two together! It’s also great to catch up with other folks who are working to protect ecosystems and hear the latest about their work.”—Candace Batycki, Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative
“Friends of Kootenay Lake was so pleased to be included in this roundtable discussion with Minister Heyman. It is not often that all of these great environmental organizations get to come together and share our work and vision for our local ecosystem. I felt comforted to know that many of us had similar concerns when it comes to doing environmental work in the West Kootenays, and I hope this will spark the generation of collaborative solutions between our community and the province.” – Camille LeBlanc, Friends of Kootenay Lake Stewardship Society