Trail Council Briefs – Wildlife office closure worries councillor

The closure of BC Hydro’s Fish and Wildlife offices in Nelson and Castlegar and moving the public question period to earlier in the meeting.

The closure of BC Hydro’s Fish and Wildlife offices in Nelson and Castlegar has one Trail councillor thinking about future care of the Columbia River.

Trail councillor Gord DeRosa said city representatives met with Hydro recently to discuss a number of historical issues but also the closure of these local offices and termination of nine jobs.

“These people have the river in their best interest. They are the stewards of our river, they swim in it, fish in it, recreate in it – they don’t do that in Burnaby,” said DeRosa at this week’s Trail council meeting. “The river flows under our feet, we see it every day, it’s a sensitive issue for us and we hated to see those jobs lost because we knew they were the curators of the river.”

The layoffs are among 300 announced in October last year as the Crown corporation responds to a government-commissioned panel that said Hydro’s staff had too much duplication.

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Trail residents looking to add their voices to a city council meeting may no longer have to wait out the general two-hour session.

Despite staff recommending the current process be maintained, the city plans on moving its public question period to the beginning of its regular meetings, it was decided this week.

A formal bylaw amendment is expected next month for a vote.

“On occasion, when there are people who do want to come in as a delegation and they show up off the street or unprepared or they haven’t set it up in advance, I don’t think they should have to wait two hours to make their presentation,” said councillor Kevin Jolly, when he first brought the new business to council chambers this month.

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