Executive director for the Columbia River Treaty Review Kathy Eichenberg answers questions during the Community meeting held June 19, 2018 at the Revelstoke Community Centre. (Nathan Kunz/Revelstoke Review)

Province releases report on Columbia River Treaty public feedback

Reservoir levels, fair compensation for impacted communities, among many issues raised

Welcoming Indigenous voices and regular updates were key general themes that emerged as part of a series of meetings designed to collect public feedback over the renegotiation of the Columbia River Treaty.

The meetings, held in communities across the Columbia Basin region last fall, highlighted resident concerns with the negotiations, which include reduced reservoir fluctuations, fair compensation for impacted communities, more support for the agricultural sector, a local government role in treaty governance and continued work led by Indigenous nations to address ecosystem and salmon reintroduction.

Meetings were held in Revelstoke, Valemount, Cranbrook, Jaffray, Creston, Golden, Invermere, Genelle, Nelson, Meadow Creek, Nakusp and Fauquier which included members of the Canadian negotiating team and Indigenous representatives.

The provincial government released a summary report detailing specific concerns and issues raised in each communities throughout the feedback process.

Two years ago, Canada and the United States began discussions over the renegotiation of the Columbia River Treaty, a water-sharing and flood management agreement between the two nations. In April 2019, Indigenous representation from the Ktunaxa, Secwepemc and Syilx/Okanagan Nations were added to the negotiations as observers.

The Columbia River Treaty, signed in 1964, led to the construction of three dams on the Canadian side and one in the U.S., which provide flood control downstream of the Kootenai River in Montana and Washington.

The three dams on the Canadian side — Keenleyside, Duncan and Mica — account for roughly half of BC Hydro’s power generation, while the treaty allows for significant power generation at U.S. hydroelectric facilities, according to the province.

However, the treaty has been criticized for a lack of consultation with Indigenous communities, as reservoirs flooded out traditional territories and adversely impacted the regional ecosystem, particularly for fish species.

Under the terms of the agreement, the United States pre-paid Canada $64 million for 60 years to provide flood control operations downstream into Montana and Washington, while also paying Canada half of the potential power that could be produced.

Since the renegotiations began, there have been nine rounds of talks between dignitaries that have been hosted in regional communities as well as in Washington D.C. The treaty itself has no end date, however, either nation can unilaterally terminate the agreement after 2024, provided that a decade of advance notice is given.



trevor.crawley@cranbrooktownsman.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Castlegar emergency service group looking for volunteers

Volunteers work with both the provincial emergency service program and the Red Cross.

Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Sept. 27 to Oct. 3

World Farm Animals Day, Drink Beer Day and Virus Appreciation Day are all coming up this week

Two new COVID-19 cases reported in Interior Health

The total number of Interior Health cases since the beginning of the pandemic is now at 522

Cobra Stairs in Castlegar reopen to public

A tree fell on the roof of the stairs earlier this month

West Kootenay mother searching for son missing since Sept. 1

Police are investigating the disappearance of Cory Westcott

B.C. records 98 more COVID-19 cases, most in Lower Mainland

One new senior home outbreak, Surrey Memorial outbreak over

2 British Columbians arrested, 3 at large in massive Alberta drug bust

Eight people are facing 33 charges in what police have dubbed Project Incumbent

97 distressed horses, cats and dogs seized from farm in Princeton

RCMP assisted as BC SPCA executed search warrant

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

$250K reward offered as investigation continues into Sea to Sky Gondola vandalism

Police also asking for specific footage of Sea to Sky highway around time of incident

Trudeau ‘disappointed’ by RCMP treatment of Sikh officers over mask issue

World Sikh Organization of Canada said taking Sikh officers off the front lines constitutes discrimination

Liberals reach deal with NDP on COVID-19 aid bill, likely averting election

NDP and the Liberals have reached an agreement on COVID-19 sick-leave

Most Read