REPORTING · 23rd June 2014
Kitimat City Council was given a presentation by Dave Wahl from Eagle Edge Charters on the North Coast Draft Marine Plan (MAPP) on Monday, June 16th.
“I’m here because I have a major concern, among a good many other groups, about the MAPP Program. It bypasses all structures in government. It has been negotiated for 7 years while only 4 weeks (and originally only 2 weeks) have been given to the public,” said Wahl.
He stated MP Nathan Cullen was unaware of this program. So was MLA Robin Austin. Wahl expressed it has slipped under the light of public inspection and all avenues to make suggestions to them were closed.
“I believe this is a gross injustice to the people of British Columbia and also it does a job of… It’s like taking this Council away and putting in a couple of self-serving people who are going to administrate the things for the District of Kitimat and they are going to enforce it as well,” said Wahl.
He told Council this is going to be forced upon them and if they did not do something about it, they would be denying the people of BC the right to examine it while it goes over the heads of the various levels of government in Canada. He expressed his opinion, which this agreement was to garner votes from First Nations communities.
Wahl stated this plan was non democratic as it would allow anyone to dictate how they were going to fish and use the coast of BC and the plan would be self-enforced by the people who made it.
He asked Council to make a motion: “That not be held in abeyance until full and meaningful consultation with all other marine user groups and local government as equal partners has been complete. If an agreement can’t be reached, that the whole concept be rejected.”
“At this point, it’s not quite reasonable for public use,” said Wahl.
Councillor Mario Feldhoff stated Council asked for an extension and he is really disappointed that they did not receive one. Feldhoff stated not many people were aware of it and they had really short notice on such a big document.
“I’m very disappointed that they did not give the community meaningful consultation as you’ve indicated and extend the timelines to provide meaningful consultation and hopefully a better plan,” said Feldhoff.
Councillor Phil Germuth stated that the people representing MAPP had admitted mistakes were made and people were not consulted. Germuth stated they should extend it so they can issue an accurate report. He hoped they would see it a different way.
“I think it’s not in their best interest and they just want to pay lip service so they can say that they asked the public,” said Wahl.
Mayor Joanne Monaghan reminded everyone they can talk to Andrew Webber from the Regional District of Kitimat Stikine in Terrace. He will take anything he hears from the public to the committee.
Councillor Mario Feldhoff made a motion that: “the MAPP proposal be held in advance until full meaningful consultation with marine user groups as equal partners is completed.”
Feldhoff expressed if this message will continue to be made with the government, the rest will happen. He did not want to cloud things with First Nations. If the dialogue occurs, these things will come out and message needs to be delivered again.
Monaghan asked if the people who receive this will understand what Council wants. Feldhoff said others can make amendments if they wish.
Councillor Edwin Empinado agreed. There was no concent to extend the public hearing or meet with other stakeholders. They want consultation with equal partners.
Councillor Mary Murphy expressed when the MAPP went to KVI, they listened to everyone who spoke against the proposal. Then they met with some groups but did not meet with everyone who was opposed to it. She said they should go back to square one.
Councillor Rob Goffinet said it was obvious that they failed to have a general understanding by the rank and file citizens of the North Coast. “It’s Failing and we’ve discussed this for many many months and… in fact, years. It’s failing in basic securing of social license, social understanding of what this MAPP process is,” said Goffinet.
He wanted it to go back to the user groups to increase understanding and achieve the social license which is lacking. Council discussed who they were going to sent this too and compiled a list including the Provincial Government, Webber, Austin and Cullen.
The motion was called and carried.