Ministry of Transportation estimates, Mar. 6, 2018

Answer:

A. Olsen: I’m going to shift the attention in a little different direction here. In a recent letter, the Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development highlighted your ministry as having some role, responsibility, in the management of salmon and steelhead.

I’m just wondering if you could explain what role your ministry plays and what funding there is allocated to this. Your ministry came up as being identified as one of the six ministries managing and having a responsibility in this aspect.

Hon. C. Trevena: We’re just working out exactly the different areas that we work because we do quite a lot. We’re very conscious these days of the environmental impact of the ministry. Obviously, we’re involved in major projects that are going to have an environmental impact, so this is something that we’re very concerned about. But there’s both the large and the small scale that the ministry works on. When we are doing a project, we are obviously consulting widely and building environmental safeguards. Whether it is moving a snake habitat or doing something else, there are major things that the ministry will do.

When we’re talking about salmon and steelhead, I think that would come under our environmental enhancement section, where we have a budget of $2.6 million. That’s for things like where you may have had a culvert in the past that has worn down that the fish can’t get through it. We replace that to make sure the fish can get through it. We’re looking at building fish ladders and working in every way that we can to ensure that our infrastructure both protects and enhances the environment.

A. Olsen: I’m just wondering — the recent COSEWIC decision to put the steelhead on the endangered species list. I know that there are several pieces of important highway infrastructure within the Thompson and Fraser rivers and also in Chilcotin. Do you see that this endangered species listing will have any impact on your budgets or how you make decisions in the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure in the future?

Hon. C. Trevena: Whenever there are changes, we obviously work to ensure that we are working within changes and to accommodate the change as necessary, because we are, as I say, very aware of environmental issues. I’m happy if the member would like to have a separate conversation about this. I think it came as a bit of a surprise to my staff, right at the end of the morning. I’m happy to have a separate conversation with the member about that.

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