PORT HARDY– Council was very disappointed by the news from the Conservation Officer Service that one of its staff positions has been removed from the Port McNeill office and transfered to Black Creek.
Ben York, from the COS, wrote to inform council of the decision and to give an assurance that there would still be adequate coverage on the North Island.
York explained that the COS treats the area north of Fanny Bay as a single zone with five field officers tasked to the area. These officers had, until recently, been divided, with two in Port McNeill and three in Black Creek.
Following the transfer of an officer out of the McNeill office, the COS reviewed the makeup and decided that the replacement officer would be better placed in Black Creek.
The council expressed concern that the new arrangement would leave the North Island without the coverage it needs from the COS.
York explained in a phone call that the COS had finite resources and the redistribution was not going to have a major effect on the North Island. "It was a hard decision to make," he said. "Obviously we'd love to have more officers, but we have to work with the resources at hand."
He explained that the decision was taken to move the position south after an internal review showed that the McNeill office had around 60 per cent of the workload of their Black Creek colleagues. York stressed that he still expects the officers at Black Creek to be sent north regularly.
"When something serious happens we're going to chuck anything we need to at it," he said, pointing out that the COS has quick response teams on standby and partnerships with the RCMP, DFO and non-profit organizations to call on when needed. He also pointed out that he began his career as a sole officer in Port Hardy, where he was stationed for five years, and said that he believes that one officer can adequately cover the Tri-port area.
The council resolved to draft a letter outlining its concerns and to ask York to visit council in person to discuss the move.
•Also discussed at the council meeting were plans for the annual Filomi Days celebration, scheduled for July 21-22.
The Filomi Days Committee wrote council to request a donation for the display and to request permissions for road closures and use of Carrot Park for the celebration, which this year has a royal theme.
The council agreed to allow all the necessary provisions and to put forward a minimum of $6,000 towards the cost of the fireworks display.
•The Minister of Fisheries and Oceans turned down the Mayor's request to expand recreational salmon fishing in the area. He explained that coho stocks were not yet considered strong enough to withstand an expansion but that new management measures to be adopted in 2013 will mean a review for the area then with a possible reevaluation on the status of salmon stocks.
•The District also issued a Terms of Reference for the proposed Community Consultative Committee. The CCC will assume an advisory role that was previously held by a number of smaller committees which have been disbanded. The goal was to create a single committee with a broader mandate in order to address the recruitment and retention issues of more closely focused groups.
The ToR are available on the District's website and those interested in applying for the committee should contact Gloria Le Gal at email@example.com with a brief statement of interest and experience.