The BC Snowmobile Federation (BCSF) is calling on all riders, dealers, manufacturers, commercial operators, communities and businesses to help us secure some needed funding. Increasingly, across the Province, the BCSF and our clubs are being asked to participate in land access meetings and consultations. These meetings have the potential to impact rider access in many areas and appear to be driven by groups that do not support our continued access.
At the snowmobile club level, often the volunteers are not equipped with the background knowledge or support they need to properly inform the decisions they are being consulted on. They have a strong knowledge of their local riding areas but may not understand all the implications of a proposal that is being presented or the ability, as volunteers, to take time off from work to attend meetings. The BCSF is currently in a position where we do not have the necessary budgets to attend every meeting or always provide in-person support when asked. We are currently weighing each meeting invite against our budgets, staffing and the future meetings we anticipate that we will need to attend. The reality is that every meeting is important and every single meeting we miss has the potential to impact our access significantly.
Many consultations are set to happen over the next twelve to twenty-four months. There are many files in different government agencies moving at once which is making effective participation difficult and expensive. We anticipate that much of the proposed restrictions will relate to caribou but we are also seeing pressure from proposed new parks or park plans for existing parks, new provincial species at risk legislation, new wildlife management legislation, new environment legislation, First Nations treaty settlements, commercial tenures and local land planning.
The BC Snowmobile Federation is currently funded by a portion of membership sales in member Snowmobile Clubs. The money currently collected from the clubs provides the minimum funding necessary for the operations of the BCSF office and insurance for club operations. But it does not provide adequate additional funding to complete some necessary projects or staff coverage to maintain a wide scale campaign.
Projects in Order of Importance
1.0 Attendance at Key Consultation Meetings
As consultations role out across the Province it is important that the BCSF has the budget to attend these meetings. As the consultations move down from the Government level to herd specific consultations at the community level the BCSF will need to be there to support the local ridership. We also see the mentoring of key individuals within the clubs/ridership will be necessary to ensure we can have representation at all meetings Travelling costs money both in actual travels costs but also in staff time as we need to hire staff to keep the day to day operations of the BCSF going at the same time.
2.0 Hiring of Professionals
The BCSF needs to hire consultants and biologists to assist with the review of consultation documents and preparation of responses. We want to ensure that decisions being considered reflect current science and will contribute to the objectives intended. We want to use science to enable us to move away from precautionary principle to evidence based decision making.
The BCSF needs to be able to hire GIS specialists to compile cumulative data. We are seeing proposed closures under several different agencies including First Nations Land Settlements, Motor Vehicle Act, Wildlife Act, Fire recovery areas, Proposed Parks, Industry, etc. But there is not a cumulative map of all these proposed closures and what they mean for our sport.
We want to have the ability to hire legal advice when needed as it pertains to new regulations and consultation processes.
The BCSF would like to hire a lobbyist to assist us in educating elected officials and decision makers both Provincially and Federally if budgets allow. We would like to have the budget to attend meetings in Victoria and Ottawa at least once a year.
So, if you ride in BC or live in a community where snowmobiling is important to your economy please donate to help us. Please share this campaign with your local town councils, chambers of commerce, and businesses.
As credit card companies take 2.9% of money collected for their service if you would like to make a large donation please contact the office directly at firstname.lastname@example.org to make other payment arrangements.
The BCSF will report on all funding collected in a separate budget category called “Land Access” and it will be reported as part of our Annual Financial Report separate from BCSF operations. The financial statements, as always, are reviewed by our accountant firm BDO and will be presented to the Member Clubs for acceptance at our Annual General Meeting.