View of Columbia River valley from Glenmerry, July 25. (Sheri Regnier photo)

Basin committee seeks Trail volunteer

Meetings held throughout Columbia Basin, travel costs reimbursed

If you live in Trail and are passionate about protecting the Columbia River, the Columbia Basin and basin interests – then this citizen position might be just right for you.

The province is seeking a volunteer from the Silver City to fill a vacant seat on the Columbia Basin Regional Advisory Committee, also known as CBRAC.

Link here: Province seeking interested citizens

In short, the committee works closely with the province, BC Hydro, and the Columbia River Treaty Local Governments’ Committee to help inform potential future improvements to the Columbia River Treaty and hydroelectric operations in the Columbia Basin.

It is a diverse, basin-wide group representing a wide range of perspectives, interests and geography.

“We are encouraging people to get involved because this is for the future,”says Linda Worley, Area B director.

Worley has been part of Columbia River Treaty discussions since they first began in the Basin seven years ago. She now chairs the respective local governments’ committee.

“It’s important that this (opportunity) is open to everybody, all adult ages. It can be a person with some technical knowledge or formal training, but it doesn’t have to be,” she clarified.

“We are just hoping someone will step forward and put in an application to be vetted by the province. They will decide the best fit for the position.”

Being part of CBRAC does require a certain commitment. The committee, which held its inaugural meeting in Nelson back in September 2014, meets twice a year in-person, with additional webinars and conference calls as needed.

While this is not a paid position, travel costs are reimbursed by the province.

“It does add to the workload …” said Worley. “But it’s worth every moment.”

To apply, the province is asking for a one-page expression of interest to be submitted before midnight Aug. 11. Applicants are asked to explain why they want to be part of the committee and what they can bring to the group.

Submissions can be emailed to columbiarivertreaty@gov.bc.ca or mailed to Brooke McMurchy, Policy Advisor Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, PO Box 9314 Stn Prov Govt, Victoria, B.C. V8W 9N1.

In addition to Trail, the province is also looking to fill a vacant CBRAC seat in Cranbrook.

For more information visit gov.bc.ca and search “Columbia River Treaty.”

According to CBRAC’s terms of reference, members are expected to be able to take a broad perspective and work collectively to contribute positively and constructively to discussions on Columbia Basin issues and concerns, including the future of the Columbia River Treaty and Columbia Basin hydroelectric operations planning.

Members will have interest in, knowledge and/or experience with hydroelectric operations planning and/or will be recognized in Columbia Basin communities (of interest or geography) as knowledgeable in one or more key areas of interest identified by Basin residents during the Columbia River Treaty Review processes.

The goal is to involve representatives from each of eight to ten impacted areas who collectively span the range of interests.

Duties include: serve as a forum for dialogue between the participants, hydroelectric facility owners and community interests; complement BC Hydro’s public engagement in the Columbia Basin region; gain community insight and input regarding current and future hydroelectric operational issues,including their impacts on residents, customers, and the environment; identify positive ways for responding to community needs and concerns; become familiar enough with the realities of BC Hydro and other Columbia Basin hydroelectric facilities owners; advise BC Hydro on matters that are regionally important and that should be taken into consideration in BC Hydro’s operation planning; and become familiar with the Columbia River Treaty and related activities in Canada and the U.S. and provide input and advice on potential future changes and improvements to the CRT.

During Columbia River Treaty community engagement sessions hosted by Columbia Basin Trust in 2011 and early 2012, and Columbia River Treaty Review consultation meetings hosted by the provincial Columbia River Treaty Review Team and the Columbia River Treaty Local Governments’ Committee in 2012 and 2013, participating Basin residents identified two areas of community interest.

First, was the need for improved understanding of and information sharing with respect to Columbia Basin hydroelectric operations with the goal of better informed operations planning. Also recognized was the need for continued engagement of First Nations and communities throughout any future Columbia River Treaty negotiation process.



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