Website snags and public outcry has the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resources extending the time period for feedback regarding proposed road changes in the Pend D’Oreille valley.
Opportunity for public comment on the province’s Access Management Area (AMA) proposal is open until Jan. 22, confirmed Sharon Dean, the ministry’s communications manager.
“There were technical problems with the website which have been resolved,” she said. “The ministry wanted to make sure the public had a full 30-day comment period,” Dean noted, referring to the original Dec. 31 public closing date. “Anyone in B.C. can comment on the proposed changes.”
The news is welcome for Ali Grieve, director for Area A.
She attended the ministry’s Dec. 16 public meeting in Trail, and requested another face-to-face be slated in the Fruitvale area to ensure people could attend post-holiday season.
At the time, Grieve also shared frustration that links on the government website didn’t point her to a promised online forum where she could share her views.
Besides extending the deadline three weeks, the ministry confirmed a workshop meeting is scheduled for Jan. 19 in the Fruitvale Memorial Hall.
“We are very pleased they heard what the public had to say on the process and lack of public consultation,” says Grieve. “I would encourage the public to attend in order to share their views on the proposed road closures.”
From the ministry’s perspective, a recent increase in off-road vehicle use and illegal trail building has damaged Pend D’Oreille lands, compromising wildlife habitat areas and promoting the spread of invasive plants throughout the valley. The AMA, looks to maintain access and hunting opportunities on some main roads but restrict motorized access on secondary roads to reduce the impact on wildlife populations, habitat, and sensitive ecosystems.
Every two years, the Fish and Wildlife branch publishes a new Hunting and Trapping Regulations Synopsis. Prior to this publication, the associated regulations are reviewed and changes proposed.