Federal Government News
roundtable to identify issues like creek setbacks for report to DFO
Released by Robert Pearsall, PA to MP Mark Strahl
Strahl, MP for Chilliwack-Fraser Canyon, hosted a successful roundtable
discussion regarding fisheries habitat and Species at Risk Act (SARA)
regulations on Wednesday. He was joined by his colleagues, MP Randy Kamp
(Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Fisheries) and MP Michelle
Rempel (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of the Environment) and the
Mayors of Chilliwack, Hope, Agassiz and Harrison Hot Springs, as well as
other local officials.
"As I've met with
local mayors, councillors and officials, one of the common themes
that continually comes up is frustration with the Department of
Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) and concerns about SARA legislation,"
said Strahl. "Our government has signalled a desire to bring a
common sense approach to DFO and SARA regulations, and I wanted my
colleagues to hear firsthand how the current heavy handed approach
of the bureaucracy is affecting my constituents."
An example of the problems with the current regulatory system
included a municipality receiving approval to clean out half of a
drainage ditch but refusal for the other half. The municipality had
to fight the bureaucracy to convince them that they needed to clean
the whole ditch in order to have any benefit to the project.
In another example, concern was raised that because of new creek
side setback regulations imposed under SARA, an existing home
backing onto a creek could not be rebuilt if it burned down, even if
it was to be rebuilt on the existing foundation.
The Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, the Hon. Keith Ashfield, has
recently stated that DFO's fish habitat policy is under review.
Strahl will present him with the results of the roundtable
discussion, and will also share them with Environment Minister,
Peter Kent, who is responsible for the Species at Risk Act.
Strahl said the Government was not abandoning environmental
fisheries protection, but would bring balance to the current system.
"I've spoken with the respective Ministers about ditch maintenance,
fish habitat and the Salish Sucker and Nooksack Dace SARA process,"
said Strahl. "I'm pleased that Parliamentary Secretaries Kamp and
Rempel were here to receive the message from my constituents as well
and I look forward to working will all of them to bring a balanced,
common sense approach to environmental protection and fish habitat
Copyright (c) 2012 The Valley Voice