North Island-Powell River MP Rachel Blaney speaks to NDP Party members in Merville early this year. Photo by David Gordon Koch/Campbell River Mirror

North Island MP gathering ammo for salmon lobby

Rachel Blaney says habitat restoration funding lacking in wake of chinook restrictions

Rachel Blaney’s office is winding up a survey with local businesses to gather feedback about regional impacts of chinook (spring) salmon restrictions. The federal government imposed the restrictions last month in an effort to conserve returns to the Fraser River. In local waters, fishers are restricted to catch-and-release until July 15. One chinook will be permitted until Aug. 30, after which two can be caught.

RELATED: Chinook fishing restrictions announced

“That has had a significant impact on our riding,” Blaney, the North Island-Powell River MP, said Monday in a media teleconference. “So far we’ve heard clearly from multiple sectors that the concerns are around habitat restoration. That is key, and has been under-funded for over 15 years.”

Constituents say there are not enough DFO staff on the ground, locally, to relay information to Ottawa. The riding also needs more support for small, local hatcheries to help build up salmon numbers.

Also of note was the clarity and timing (lateness) of the announcement, Blaney added.

She expects a report will be presented to Fisheries Minister Jonathan Wilkinson in the next week or two.

“We are open to people contacting our office if they want to add anything to it,” Blaney said. “What I want to see is a strong, bold plan that this government is going to put forward to support the people however they’re impacted in this area, and make sure that we actually see the funding flowing to doing things like building up our hatcheries, making sure that we have restoration happening in our creeks and in our streams and in our rivers so that we don’t have to face this in the long-term ever again.”

Town hall meetings

Blaney’s office is conducting a series of town-hall meetings with students on the topic of climate change. The first session was April 16 in Port McNeill. She has another planned for Comox on May 22.

“It’s been very interesting,” she said. “Our goal is to have young people presenting at every one of them…It was interesting to hear concerns about forest fires, and not knowing what the future will look like with all of the changes. We’re just not getting the rain that we need. We’re working on having a good debate and discussion within the riding to be able to bring more information back to Ottawa.”

Cell phone coverage

North Islanders are also concerned about adequate cell phone coverage and access. Blaney notes a November accident near Sayward where Duncan Moffat was injured and trapped in a truck for several days before he was spotted by a hunter. The area had no cell phone service.

Her office has received hundreds of signatures on petitions asking for cell towers to increase accessibility. Blaney has tabled a couple of the petitions in Ottawa.

“Safety is the most important factor for the folks in our riding,” she said.



reporter@comoxvalleyrecord.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

How to judge sand sculptures like a pro at the 2019 Parksville Beach Festival

World-class arbiter gives insight on how to choose a winner

Editorial: Whatever happened to the summer of love?

Baby boomers must look back at the promise of summers past and wonder

Victoria: where the streets have four names

Find out why so many capital region streets change names as the roadways twist and turn

A look back at hand logging on Cortes Island

David Ellingsen explores his family’s logging roots with the help of his camera

Vancouver Island writer goes with the flow in River Tales

Crofton author documents life on the banks of the Cowichan River

Rich the Vegan scoots across Canada for the animals

Rich Adams is riding his push scooter across Canada to bring awareness to the dog meat trade in Asia

Canadian high school science courses behind on climate change, says UBC study

Researchers found performance on key areas varies by province and territory

Six inducted into BC Hockey Hall of Fame

The 26th ceremony in Penticton welcomed powerful figures both from on and off the ice

RCMP investigate two shootings in the Lower Mainland

Incidents happened in Surrey, with a victim being treated at Langley Memorial Hospital

CRA program to help poor file taxes yields noticeable bump in people helped

Extra money allows volunteer-driven clinics to operate year-round

Recall: Certain Pacific oysters may pose threat of paralytic shellfish poisoning

Consumers urged to either return affected packages or throw them out

How a Kamloops-born man helped put us on the moon

Jim Chamberlin did troubleshooting for the Apollo program, which led to its success

Sexual harassment complaints soaring amid ‘frat boy culture’ in Canada’s airline industry

‘It’s a #MeToo dumpster fire…and it’s exhausting for survivors’

Most Read