This was published in the Friday, April 20th, 2012 edition of the Alaska Highway News:

Signs of Spring

Here in the endangered Peace River valley, the signs of spring are everywhere. Over a month ago, the bald eagles were back on their nests, and the elk, mule and white tailed deer have been scouring the hay fields in search of new growth. A multitude of migratory ducks, geese, swans and shorebirds are finding refuge along the river, and many are pairing off and searching for nest sites.  Last weekend, as Fort St John’s populace found solace from a snow storm at the trade show, thousands of robins and juncos, and other song birds found the slightly milder climate in the valley a crucial refuge. Brushfoot butterflies have overwintered well, and frolic around the yard on sunny afternoons.  Spurred on by the recent moisture, crocuses are blooming in profusion,  poplar buds are swelling,  and with a hint of green grass on the slopes, leaves can’t be far behind  For the past 100 years, my family has enjoyed spring in the Peace river valley, and this year is no exception.

However, another seasonal migrant, is also back in the valley, viz the Site C  “team”, and they have arrived en masse. For most of the winter, they apparently found refuge  in the south of the Province, but again have migrated north on their mission to consult, facilitate, mitigate, and frustrate, those of use who call the valley home. Their winter’s efforts have produced glossy folios depicting impact lines, highway relocations options, and  “consultation booklets”  and not unlike the avid birder, they are now busy with their check lists of stakeholders, first nations, community groups and public meetings.  Once all the boxes are checked off, they will return south to compile their results, and  produce another series depicting how well they have consulted.

Even with the government efforts to fast track the Site C  assessment process, it appears in the short term,  we will continue to see increasing occurrences of these “team”  migrants, as they attempt to push this ill conceived project through for their southern masters.    In the end, the “team”  will no doubt have a home in the south to return to,  whereas those of us who look forward to spring in the Peace can only question what the future might hold. From my perspective, those potential losses would be irreplaceable!

Ross Peck

Hudson’s Hope BC