Vanderhoof council confused about their role at the Water Engagement Initiative

Vanderhoof council confused about their role at the Water Engagement Initiative

Mayor and council discussed their observer status during a past regular public meeting

Vanderhoof council want to get a legal opinion about the implications of attending the Water Engagement Initiative.

Cyndi Lauze brought up the topic of Vanderhoof being an observer at the WEI round-table, and was questioning what that status meant, during a regular public meeting of council held Jan. 25.

READ MORE: Vanderhoof resident questioning council over decision to be observers at water engagement roundtable

Kevin Moutray said the town has been an active participant, despite their observer status, and in his opinion, he doesn’t believe council should go for the round-table meetings.

Ken Young agreed with Moutray, adding that no substantial progress is being made at the WEI.

Mayor Gerry Thiessen said the district still doesn’t have the technical capacity to engage.

“We had asked for money to get a hydrologist, and we haven’t seen that money. We don’t have that professional capacity. And we are in a tough place for sure,” he said during the meeting.

Thiessen said he struggles with the direction being taken by the round-table, as there have been six meetings and no clear recommendations have come out of it.

“We don’t have the expertise, so how can we give recommendations and take the risk?” Young said.

As an observer, Vanderhoof won’t be able to vote on any recommendations that are put across to members of the round-table.

“I am fearful of getting involved in votes as a municipality, because we will have to live with it,” Thiessen said.

Young suggested council make a decision about their status and Lauze agreed saying council needs to be clear about their status and have consensus in this matter.

Thiessen added that council needs to get in touch with the province and ask them to send in the technical capacity, as that should be their prerogative.

Towards the end of the meeting, council reached a consensus that they need to get a legal opinion about the implications of being an observer at the Water Engagement Initiative.

WEI was started by Rio Tinto BC Works, this year to facilitate an understanding of the diverse interests related to water management in the Nechako region, and to collaborate with interested parties/persons in identifying opportunities for improvement in Rio Tinto operations.

More to come


Aman Parhar
Editor, Vanderhoof Omineca Express

aman.parhar@ominecaexpress.com

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