Campbell River Mayor Andy Adams was taken aback by a statement from Rachel Blaney about working through the holidays to address a federal government decision to phase out salmon farming activities in the Discovery Islands.
He said it is “disingenuous” of the North Island-Powell River MP to say she has dialogued with him and other North Island mayors, or with leaders and workers in the aquaculture industry. He said the mayors have been working throughout the holidays with industry, stakeholders and employees who are devastated by the Dec. 17 announcement, and by the lack of consultation.
Adams said each of the above parties had received a form letter from Blaney dated Dec. 21 or 22.
“We have replied back with our letter, pretty much offended, to say that we would like a video conference or teleconference call with us online,” Adams said.
Monday morning, he said an email from her office asked if he would like to arrange a call. He replied, as per the letter, to please arrange a video or teleconference with the entire group.
“We’re not going to waste everybody’s time just trying to be picked off one at a time,” Adams said. “It’s the first day back in the new year, and most people are still trying to take a bit of time off, since we didn’t get any because of this crap.”
Blaney said the decision from Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan to phase out fish farms in the Discovery Islands has deeply impacted the community, leaving fish farm workers uncertain about their future.
“Mayor Adams is reflecting those concerns which I also share,” she said by email. “I reached out, and have now heard back from many of the mayors and industry representatives, and I’m looking forward to further meetings and discussion on how we can support our communities and the workers going forward.”
The Dec.17 decision to phase out the fish farms follows work conducted by the Cohen Commission, as well as the Broughton Agreement between First Nations, the provincial government and industry.