Summer is upon us with people heading off for vacations and enjoying community festivals. Many of us are making the most of our own backyard wilderness and we host lots of tourists who want to experience our North Island paradise.
Unfortunately one of the most affordable holidays – camping at one of our many provincial parks – has become more difficult. Not only have we seen the BC Liberals put the rates up, but now it has come to light that private tour operators are block booking at some popular locations, keeping BC residents out of our own parks. There should be a simple fix; allow residents priority in making reservations and in access. But so far, the Minister has not dealt with this matter. I’ve raised the issue, along with my colleagues, and hopefully by next year there will be a change in the system.
While looking at access to the wilderness, I am also following up with government on a number of concerns brought to my office about gates at logging roads. In a number of areas these are on Crown Land, which of course is public, and in one instance it is a backroad to a park.
I’ve also been looking at problems on the Salmon River. BC Hydro built a diversion dam many years ago, blocking the salmon run. It had promised to fix it this year but has suddenly changed its mind. The good news is that BC Hydro will remove the dam completely, the bad news is that wont happen for a number of years, and a number of salmon cycles. I’ve gone to see the site and will urge both the Minister responsible and BC Hydro for more speedy action.
It was a pleasure to celebrate part of Canada Day at the Seniors’ Tea at the Campbell River Museum. This year, many stewards of Campbell River’s environment were being recognized: people who had long involvement with stream-keeping and our fisheries, people who are involved with Greenways Land Trust and those working on invasive species removal – essentially people who make our region a green and beautiful place.
I also visited many seniors’ homes ahead of Canada Day, to wish those who built our community, our province and our country a happy Canada Day. The amazing Canada Day Committee in Campbell River organize this, along with more than a day of events for the city, culminating in the largest fireworks display on Vancouver Island.
The next day I marked the 50th anniversary of Port McNeill becoming an incorporated community at its Logger Sports. I can’t think of a more appropriate venue to celebrate Port McNeill. After all, it was built on logging and continues to be supported by it. It’s unfortunate that our forest sector has been so mishandled in 15 years of Liberal government where jobs are shipped away with every logging barge that goes down the Strait or offshore.
There is still no positive news about the future of the Port Alice Mill. However I am hoping to have a meeting with the Minister of Jobs this summer to discuss how the government can become more involved in making sure this economic driver of the North Island can reopen.
I will be marking the 50th anniversary of Port Hardy later this month at Filomi Days. It is another example of community resilience when everyone takes such pride in their town and all it has to offer, despite being ignored by the government.
This summer will see me in a number of our North Island communities (as well as in a few of the Forestry campsites). I will also be on the road around the province, in my position as Official Opposition Transportation spokesperson.
I will also be continuing to push key campaigns, including better access to broadband internet: you can make your voice heard by logging on https://fibre.telus.com/iwantfibre/#overbuild_form. And of course, as the summer ritual overloads at BC Ferries becomes part of our everyday reality I will continue to push for a marine highway that works for everyone.
I hope to see you in your community, but I can also be reached in Campbell River on 250 287 5100 and in Port Hardy on 250 949 9473 or toll free on 866 387 5100. My email is Claire.firstname.lastname@example.org or find me on Facebook or follow on Twitter @clairetrevena.