PRESS RELEASE – BC’s Heritage Rivers & Rivers Foundation

Press Release – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

September 21, 2015

Re-New BC’s Heritage River System, & Invest in a BC Rivers FoundationDSCF6764

– A River’s Day Letter & Request to All BC Party Leaders

CEDAR – “With a mandate to foster appreciation and support for our rivers and watersheds throughout the province …we are specifically requesting that the BC Heritage Rivers process be re-opened for new nominations, and that funds be invested to help establish a BC Rivers Foundation,” states the Vancouver Island and Coast Conservation Society in a letter to BC’s Party Leaders.

VICCS has written to Premier Christy Clark, Opposition Leader John Horgan and Green Party Leader Andrew Weaver, asking for all-Party support as the Legislature resumes next week.

VICCS President Laurie Gourlay states, “This being the 20th anniversary of the BC Heritage Rivers System, and it having been some 15 years since a river was designated as such in the province, we would like to suggest that it is time to re-visit the terms and mandate for recognizing BC Rivers and their heritage, cultural, economic and natural values.”

The Society also calls for investment in a BC Rivers Foundation, to assist in maintaining healthy waterways throughout BC. While new Heritage Rivers should be designated VICCS also argues that the “hard-working, trusted and dependable rivers that have provided our water, transported our goods and supplies, and offered fresh, clean and healthy outings and recreation” are just as important to local communities as are those special and representative BC and Canadian Heritage Rivers.

VICCS President Laurie Gourlay suggests that a BC Rivers Foundation would be a gift to British Columbians and to all Canadians, an investment in our inheritance and a gift for the future as the 150th anniversary of Confederation approaches in 2017.

Gourlay calls on BC’s political leaders to “promote stewardship of our natural legacy, as well as recognize the diversity and importance of river landscapes.” And he notes that time is short as “climate change, development and increasing populations have put a great deal of pressure and expectations on British Columbia’s waterways… ”

With this in mind VICCS draws on their own experience on Vancouver Island, suggesting that “the Nanaimo River be the first river to be considered under a renewed BC Heritage Rivers process. And …that the mid-island region would welcome the opportunity to establish the BC Rivers Foundation here in these heritage lands, where the mountains meet the sea.”

In ending their request to BC’s Party Leaders the non-profit society emphasizes the need for “serious consideration for these very important initiatives, at this very important time in our history.” BC and World Rivers will be celebrated this year on September 27th, just before the BC Legislature resumes.

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For more information:

Laurie Gourlay

President, VICCS

— Vancouver Island & Coast Conservation Society, Box 333, Cedar, B.C., V9X 1W1 250.722.3444, (viccs@shaw.ca) www.viccs.vcn.bc.ca