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Agricultural committee looks to balance cost with sustainability and versatility

New equipment and procedures need to be compatible with financial and environmental needs
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The Regional District for Bulkley-Nechako is looking for sustainable solutions to water concerns

Members of the Agricultural Committee for the Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako identified three measures that could help ensure the sustainability of farming in northern British Columbia on Thursday: aquifer mapping, water storage and test well results. Director Mark Parker said they will be asking for full map of the regions test wells.

Director Clint Lambert suggested that the province standardize irrigation construction to save on costs.

COST OF EQUIPMENT

The board discussed recommendations from Environmental Services to purchase several new pieces of heavy duty equipment including excavators and skid steers with the aim to balance their cost with versatility. Board members agreed that training and maintenance were needed to ensure the longevity of their machinery. A cost-benefit analysis of labour hours will determine if the district should hire a full-time mechanic.

WILDFIRES AND WILDLIFE

The district will draft a letter the Ministry of Water, Land and Resource Stewardship in response to a proposal for a wildlife habitat area that will protect southern mountain caribou. Director Stoney Stoltenberg said that the proposal does not take into account the severity of climate change and wildfires. He said the provincial government misunderstands the science.

“They (caribou) don’t winter in spruce. They winter in pine forests because that’s where the lichen grows.”

Stoltenberg said that the provincial government spends two per cent of what it spent on wildlife 50 years ago.

DISTRICT WELCOMES FIRE SMART EDUCATOR AND STUDENTS

The Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako opened proceeding on Thursday by welcoming Mike Huntley from Prince George as the new fire smart educator for the district along with three new summer students and one returning student.