Despite being a ferry ride across the Pacific and six mountain ranges away, MLA for Columbia River-Revelstoke Doug Clovechok has been hard at work advocating for his constituents in Victoria.
Earlier this summer the local MLA was named opposition critic for Tourism, Arts, and Culture and has since completed a four-day tour of the Caribou/Chilcotin assessing wildfire impact.
Adding to his duties Mr. Clovechok is now the opposition critic for the Columbia Basin Trust, working alongside Kootenay West MLA Katrine Conroy.
“What a critics role is is to hold government to account for the policies they create and things that are said around those files. I’m the watchdog and obviously Tourism and Arts and Culture in our region is incredibly important but equally so is the Columbia Basin Trust,” said Mr. Clovechok.
He went on to say his role is to make sure that the train stays on the rail and the process continues to support the people. While Mr. Clovechok and Ms. Conroy have yet to meet, he expressed his excitement for the opportunity to work on the file to keep the Columbia Basin Trust a nonpartisan entity.
“I’m really excited again to have the opportunity to be the critic but also work with the minister to make sure our area and her area, that all the basin is receiving the benefits they long have because it’s so important to our area and to our region,” said Mr. Clovechok.
While representing the people of the Columbia River-Revelstoke riding, Mr. Clovechok has been fielding a variety of calls from constituents. From concerns over the changes to bus routes, crosswalk safety on highways in the Village of Radium, and business owners being impacted by the backcountry access ban, it has been a busy time for the MLA.
“I am absolutely privileged to represent the people of Columbia River-Revelstoke … you can see the effect you can have as an MLA when you’re in Victoria,” said Mr. Clovechok.
Mr. Clovechok was in contact with Doug Donaldson, minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development to keep the backcountry access ban on his radar.
“At the end of the day, BC Wildfire Service are the ones that make the call, not the ministry and what I asked the minister is keep your eyes on it. Keep your fingers on the pulse so when the conditions change in such a way that we can allow hunters and guide outfitters back into the backcountry, then let’s do that right away,” said Mr. Clovechok in an interview last week prior to the ban being lifted.
As a resident hunter, Mr. Clovechok knows the effect the ban has on hunters and guide outfitters who rely on the hunting season for their livelihood.
“I’m hopeful for the guide outfitters but also resident hunters. I know there’s a lot of people where we live that are really dependent on having an animal in hunting season in their freezer to feed their family,” said Mr. Clovechok.
On Friday September 15th, BC Wildfire Service reopened the backcountry after the Southeast fire centre saw changes in weather and fire behaviour. As the wildfire season has had an impact on tourism based areas, the B.C. government announced $200,000 in support for the Kootenay Rockies Tourism Association. The funds will go towards helping with tourism recovery for the affected areas.