Planned fish and wildlife officer move short-sighted

NDP The Straits-White Bay North MHA Christopher Mitchelmore

The Department of Justice plans to shrink the number of Fish and Wildlife Enforcement Division offices on the Great Northern Peninsula, and the area MHA says the short-sighted decision is unacceptable.

MHA Christopher Mitchelmore (The Straits-White Bay North) says he has received confirmation that government plans to close the current FWED offices in Roddickton and Port Saunders, and open a new one in Plum Point.

The justice minister has given assurances that the decision will have no impact on the officers’ ability to do their jobs, Mitchelmore is not convinced.

“If you are sitting in an office in St. John’s and looking at a map, you might think the added costs of opening or building a new office in Plum Point is worth it,” he said. “However, the reality on the ground is different.”

In a letter to the minister asking him to reconsider his decision, Mitchelmore points out current operations are from Government owned buildings that will remain open and creating another office will add to cost for taxpayers. He reiterated the eastern Great Northern Peninsula “has a comprehensive trail network, multiple outfitters, abundant salmon rivers, forestry access roads, ecological reserves and pristine natural areas.” He adds that the physical ongoing presence of regional offices helps mitigate poaching and other activities such as proscribed ATV use.

“How much more of this sort of decision – consolidation of services, regardless of how much that hurts small rural communities – can we expect? This is a direct attack on these small towns. Government must reconsider their decision,” Mitchelmore said.

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