Second round of Columbia River Treaty review coming to Trail

Throughout the year, residents of Greater Trail can be seen taking leisurely strolls down Gyro Park walkway, enjoying the scenic view of the Columbia River as it ripples and flows its way south to the border.

As 2014 approaches, the flowing water holds more value than a free place to swim on a warm summer day.

Since 1964, the Columbia River has quietly signified its value to all residents of the Columbia River Basin, in terms of employment, money and environmentally, all owing to the Columbia River Treaty (CRT).

This month, the CRT 2014 Review begins round two and the B.C.’s Ministry of Energy, Mines and Natural Gas is encouraging the public to speak out to help shape the future of the CRT.

Trail will host an evening consultation workshop on Nov. 28, to give Columbia Basin residents an opportunity for input into the CRT Review in 2014.

“The consulting sessions will be led by the province’s Provincial Review Team. They are meant to keep building information and answering questions that the public had during the information workshops held last year,” said Delphi Hoodikoff, director of communications for the Columbia Basin Trust (CBT).

In the first round of 15 educational open houses conducted in the Columbia River Basin last year, people asked for more information on several topics, including: the benefits and negative impacts of the current CRT; issues related to compensation; climate change and how it may influence the CRT in the future; and feasibility of bringing salmon back to the upper Columbia River.

“I think we do forget about the treaty because it has been there so long and it has operated so well,” said Kindy Gosal, CBT director of water and environment.

The CRT is an international water-management agreement between Canada and the U.S., in place to optimize flood management and power generation production in the Basin on both sides of the border.

“The Canadian Entitlement is worth $120-$300 million annually, depending on power market prices, and this goes into the Province’s general revenue account.” said a government press release. “If the Columbia River Treaty is terminated, the Canadian Entitlement ends.”

The treaty was signed in 1964 without a termination date, but with a minimum length of 60 years.

However, the treaty states that either country may terminate the agreement by providing a minimum of 10 years advance, written notice.

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