The following letter was sent to Premier David Eby by Raincoast Conservation Foundation, Grizzly Bear Foundation, and Commercial Bear Viewing Association with regards to the province’s draft Grizzly Bear Stewardship Framework and public consultation process, urging them to extend the public engagement period and improve the process to provide sufficient time, resources, and opportunities for the public to participate.
Dear Honourable David Eby,
On July 12, 2023, the BC government released a draft of their provincial Grizzly Bear Stewardship Framework and is asking the public to read the 75-page document and comment by completing a questionnaire by August 18, 2023.
Although the proposed Framework outlines and declares broad, far reaching changes in policy that will affect grizzly bear conservation for decades to come, the restrictive comment period represents the only opportunity for the public to express their concerns and ideas for the future of grizzly bear habitat, food security, and stewardship.
This problematic approach to public consultation severely limits prospects of the Provincial government receiving and assessing public responses concerning the proposed Framework. We note that a lack of visibility leading up to the release of this Framework is further compounded by a short response period coinciding with summer holidays, as well as a time when bear viewing and outdoor businesses and guides are at the height of their season. Clearly, insufficient access (availability) and time prohibit the public from digesting the implications of a lengthy technical report and completing a complicated and narrowly focused survey. As currently realized, this process does not represent appropriate consultation with the public.
We strongly encourage you to extend the response period to at least the end of 2023 and provide additional opportunities for comment to ensure the public has sufficient time to read and understand the draft Framework and provide meaningful input.
What’s more, the Framework contemplates a possible reinstatement of the grizzly bear hunt, which an overwhelming majority of BC residents oppose. Accordingly, a much broader public engagement and consultation is required. Otherwise, the Province risks a return to the controversy and conflict that previously marked this issue.
Together our organizations represent a diverse group of scientists, conservationists, and bear viewing guides and businesses who are deeply concerned with the conservation and well-being of grizzly bears in BC. We urge you to extend the public engagement period and improve upon the process to provide sufficient time, resources, and opportunities for the public to participate.
Chris Genovali, Executive Director, Raincoast Conservation Foundation
Katherine MacRae, Executive Director, Commercial Bear Viewing Association
Nicholas Scapillati, Executive Director, Grizzly Bear Foundation
Cc: Honourable Bruce Ralston, Forests Minister
Honourable George Heyman, Environment Minister
Rick Manwaring, Deputy Minister of Forests
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