VANDERHOOF - Members of the District of Vanderhoof got the shock of their lives last week when they got a letter with some very bad news.
"Government and the Technical Working Group had made a recommendation that they were going to release most of the fish from the hatchery because they wanted to have a certain only released next May," explains Brian Frenkel, Councillor with the District of Vanderhoof. "That was a bit of a shock."
What ensued was a flurry of emails and phone calls between the Department of Fisheries and Oceans as well as provincial ministries and they met with success. The release will not take place as planned and a meeting with all the parties in Vanderhoof is set for December 11th. For some, that is seen as a victory.
"It's a large success. I think everybody was surprised at the size of this problem all of a sudden," says Wayne Salewsky with the Working Group. "This facility has been here for four years. This is our fifth crop [of fish] that's going out. And in those five years, counting this one, we have had two culls suggested. So the community's lost some faith."
But for Brian Frenkel, the pending meeting with all the parties provides a unique opportunity.
"I think what we need to do as a community, at a meeting now, is be able to tell the Province and the federal government what this facility that we fought for, for so long, means to our community, from tourism and integrated into the school system. School District 91, we wrote a curriculum that's been adopted. It's in the school system. Grade 10 classes come over weekly to be part of it, so it's hands-on learning."
He says he also wants to ensure the decisions coming from higher levels of government are based on science.
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