NALT to give river symposium update

NANAIMO: Land trust ready to give its first Nanaimo RIver update.

Fourteen months after the Nanaimo and Area Land Trust hosted its Nanaimo River symposium, it is ready to give its first update on progress that has been made and what lies ahead.

Gail Adrienne, NALT’s executive director, said enthusiasm among stakeholders interested in creating a long-term protection strategy for the watershed remains high, and working groups have met consistently since the symposium to develop strategies.

“A large part of the past year has been getting a sense of what’s involved and that we’re all in this together,” said Adrienne. “We’ve had several two- and three-hour meetings where people from all interested groups have come together and worked very hard to come up with a shape that everybody will be comfortable with. I think we’re there and that’s what we want to present to the larger community.”

The Nanaimo River Community meeting is scheduled for Dec. 5 at 6 p.m. at Beban Park Social Centre. All members of the community are welcome to attend.

At the symposium in September 2011, more than 250 people participated, representing forest companies, First Nations, fisheries representatives, and other stakeholders.

Attendees heard keynote speakers that included CBC’s Bob McDonald and Snuneymuxw First Nation councillor Bill Yoachim, and watched Paul Manley’s video Voices of the River.

Oliver Brandes, senior research associate and co-director of the POLIS project at the University of Victoria, a forum that promotes ecological governance, was originally asked to speak at the original symposium but was unavailable.

He will share his thoughts at the upcoming meeting.

“His passion is water, so it will be interesting to hear what he has to say,” said Adrienne.

She added that there are still a few gaps in participation, but noted that as the planning moves forward other groups will be able to become more involved.

“Some groups will become more interested when there is stuff to do, like gumboots in the creek sort of thing,” said Adrienne. “We’re not there just yet, but this will give them a chance to hear what we’re planning next.”