Maple Ridge endorses endangered species law campaign
Maple Ridge council passed a resolution supporting the need for new provincial legislation to protect endangered species at Monday's workshop meeting.
Susan Howatt, campaigns director for the Sierra Club BC, told council via speakerphone Monday that B.C. is one of the only provinces in Canada that doesn't have such a provincial act and she said the Environment ministry has been "stymied" by the lack of legislation.
The Sierra Club is asking municipalities across the province to endorse the need for such an act as well as 10 principles the environmental organization believes should be in the act. Maple Ridge council supported the province including the 10 principles in a new act.
The province has announced it will form at species-at-risk task force and Howatt said the task force would likely be formed in the next month.
Councillor Al Hogarth said his only concern is that municipalities could be required to fund and enforce the act due to provincial government downloading in the future. Howatt emphasized that the Sierra Club believes both are provincial responsibilities.
Hogarth also questioned what the Sierra Club meant by its fifth principle it wants municipalities to endorse - incorporate global warming into policy, planning and management.
Howatt said the Sierra Club sees species and ecosystem protection as part of climate change action.
"What we really want is a mechanism to protect habitat," she said, adding that trying to prevent climate change and to protect habitat could go hand in hand.
She gave an example of protecting forest for carbon sequestration so less carbon ends up in the atmosphere but such a move would also protect habitat for endangered species.
According to the Sierra Club, B.C. is one of only two provinces in Canada without endangered species legislation despite the fact that the province has the most endangered species of any province or territory.
Councillor Cheryl Ashlie said she wants to ensure that once the act is created that it's enforced and there is measurement and proof that it's working to protect endangered species.
Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows Times