16 Years of short-sighted mismanagement of natural resources in this province has left a significant debt to wildlife populations, water quality, climate change resiliency, and economic sectors reliant on our forests. These have direct long-term costs and in many cases have resulted in a net negative impact on nearby communities including water quality and tourism revenue. Many wildlife populations are at a crisis point where hunting and recreation restrictions and culling are used to as a last resort to avoid complete species loss. This, however, does not address the bigger picture. There is a gross underfunding to support habitat protection, restoration and monitoring wildlife populations. BC is 25 times less funded per ha than states like Oregon with less biodiversity.
The BC Green Party understands the urgent action is needed to restore credibility to the environmental assessment process and ensure there is a net benefit from activity including considering cumulative effects. New guidelines are needed to ensure that qualified professionals are not in a conflict of interest and that codes of conduct are fully enforced, and investment is needed for compliance.
The BC Greens want a Natural Resources Commissioner established to oversee the professional reliance model, establish sustainable harvest levels and to report on the state of the province's natural assets. The BC Greens also support a sustainable funding model for the fish and wildlife branch and habitat protection.
Leader Andrew Weaver and Kelowna West candidate Robert Stupka are leading a conversation on developing a sustainable model for habitat protection in West Kelowna on February 2nd at the Westbank Community Centre at 7 pm.