Nelson City Council have put their support behind the draft Section 11 Agreement to protect southern mountain caribou. The motion was introduced by Councillor Rik Logtenberg who feels it’s important local governments take a position.

“Protecting the southern mountain caribou is really important. It’s not just about protecting that species it’s about protecting that ecosystem and a keystone species within that ecosystem,” said Logtenberg.

It also brought him hope to see that the province and federal governments are working together on a plan.

Three councillors voiced their opinions against the motion, including Mayor John Dooley, Janice Morrison and Cal Renwick, but the motion did end up passing.

Logtenberg feels that the draft agreement does takes recreational users and the logging industry into consideration.

“It’s put forward a plan to save the species while still protecting some of those values,” Logtenberg iterated. “It’s a strong balance and if anything needs to ultimately be stronger.”

At this point it’s still not known how back country access and industry might be impacted as specific herd plans will be developed over the next couple of years based on further consultations.

Logtenberg doesn’t want to see more pressure put on an ecosystem that is already impacted by climate change, and adds it’s about creating a sustainable logging and recreation industry. He feels the role of public policy comes into play in creating that sustainable vision of the future and providing industry with a path forward.

There has been public feedback on Logtenberg’s motion, but he says it’s been overwhelmingly positive.

“There’s been a few people who’ve said that they’re concerned but really that concern was based on uncertainty. I have not had one person who’s said we shouldn’t do everything we can to save this species.”

Council’s letter of support has been sent to the Ministry of Environment. The minister’s office has already reached out and are interested in hearing concerns and input from Nelson council and developing a partnership.