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Shypitka “Frustrated” by Public Meetings on Access Management Areas

Public consultations on the B.C. Government’s review of Access Management Areas (AMAs) seemingly came out of nowhere this week, surprising and frustrating Tom Shypitka, the MLA for Kootenay-East.

This week, the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development (FLNRORD) is holding public meetings as they look to review and update the established Motor Vehicle Closed Areas and Motor Vehicle Hunting Closed Areas across the region to make them functional for wildlife, the public, and other environmental objectives.

Shypitka said the public consultation is needed on the AMAs but there should have been more notice for the public and for local elected officials.

“I found out personally as the MLA through a trapper who found it out secondhand from somebody else, so it really isn’t out there,” Shypitka told MyEastKootenayNow.com .”The fact that they’re doing these engagement sessions during the week of the Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM) where all of the elected officials all over the province come into one area, they’re doing it during this time period is really concerning because you want elected officials present because they represent the constituents.”

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Shypitka said the AMAs provide an important balance in the backcountry, knowing that its an important topic for residents across the East Kootenay that access the backcountry for whatever purpose.

“It’s a tool that government implements to restrict access in certain areas, whether its wildlife or industry or what have you, it restricts access to the backcountry which we all understand. Unfortunately, they’re going to be retweaking these areas. Nobody knows why or what and I guess that’s what these engagement sessions are for.”

For an example, Shypitka said this issue and review is important to trappers in the as they have been handcuffed on being able to get new permits or restablish their permits, despite have their existing traplines for decades.

“I don’t know what’s coming out of these meetings, I guess we’ll find out but it just concerns me the way they go about the business,” added Shypitka. “It just seems like it’s another prime example of the government checking off the box of consultation without actually doing it, doing it in a half-hazard way.”

If Access Management Areas are of importance to any local groups or organizations, Shypitka said it is imperative they attempt to make to the remaining public consultation meetings this week so their voice can be heard by FLNRORD.

The remaining meetings and locations are as follows:

  • JaffrayTuesday, September 24, 2019
    • Jaffray Community Hall – Jaffray Village Loop Road
    • 10:00 am to 4:00 pm
  • CranbrookWednesday, September 25, 2019
    • Cranbrook Manual Training Centre – 1212 2nd Street North
    • 10:00 am to 4:00 pm
  • FernieThursday, September 26, 2019
    • Fernie Chamber of Commerce  – 102 Commerce Road
    • 10:00 am to 4:00 pm
  • SparwoodFriday, September 27, 2019
    • Sparwood Chamber of Commerce – 30 141 A Aspen Drive
    • 10:00 am to 4:00 pm
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