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The Province is expanding its fight against invasive mussels with a $1.3-million boost toward early detection and rapid response.
Although these invasive species have never been detected in British Columbia, this program expansion increases protection of B.C.'s lakes and rivers against the threat of quagga and zebra mussels.
The Kelowna Chamber of Commerce has been at the forefront at the federal and provincial level calling for this type of action to prevent an economic and ecological crisis of our lakes
"The Chamber supports the efforts of the Okanagan Water Basin Board in increasing public and governments awareness of the serious threat this has to BC and the Okanagan." States Ken Carmichael, President of the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce.
"This is another step in our government's ongoing efforts to prevent invasive mussels from becoming established in B.C.," says Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resources and Kelowna-Mission MLA Steve Thomson. "I encourage all recreational boaters to familiarize themselves with the 'Clean, Drain, Dry' program so they can also do their part."
The strengthened invasive mussel defence program begins operations in April for the 2015 boating season and consists of:
Through this program, teams will inspect and, if necessary, decontaminate boats entering B.C. from Alberta. They also will respond to boats from the U.S. identified as a concern by the Canadian Border Services Agency, as well as U.S. partner agencies. Each crew will be equipped with mobile self-contained decontamination units.
The teams will consist of trained auxiliary conservation officers coming from university compliance training programs offered by Vancouver Island University, providing valuable experience for students and recent graduates.
Twenty-four new highway signs featuring the Clean, Drain, Dry program are also being installed at significant entry points into the province.
Aquatic invasive species, such as zebra and quagga mussels, pose a significant threat to B.C.'s and Canada's freshwater ecosystems. These mussels threaten native species and fisheries in lakes and rivers. They clog water intake pipes, leading to increased maintenance costs for hydroelectric, domestic water, industrial, agricultural and recreational facilities.
Since the Bank of Canada lowered interest rates as
“insurance” against the risk of a sharper downturn,
many have been asking: How long will it take for the
fall in oil prices to impact the broader economy and
how severe will the slowdown be? What will it mean
for Canadian business?
Canada’s fourth-quarter GDP growth came in at a
brisk 2.4%, which looks pretty good, but when we
examine where the growth came from, there is cause
for concern. Household consumption was OK, but
exports and business investment both declined.
Instead, you can see in the adjacent graph that the
biggest contributor, accounting for three quarters of
the rise in GDP is inventories.
A sharp rise in inventory can be caused by businesses
stocking up in anticipation of stronger sales in the
future or, alternatively, if a sharp deterioration in
demand leaves unwanted stock. What’s the likelihood
that business was stocking up in anticipation of a
bonanza at the end of 2014? Not very good. Instead,
we’ve heard anecdotally that companies in the oil
patch were hit with a particularly sharp drop in sales,
and the concerns are broad-based with the auto sector
accounting for a big part of rising inventories.
There are three reasons we’re expecting a significant
slowdown in Canada. Firstly, the big declines in
capital expenditure have not yet been seen in the
broader economy. Remember that oil prices remained
above $75 until the middle of November and only fell
into the $50 range in December. There were many
announcements of cutbacks at the end of 2014 but
these will not be seen in operations on the ground until
the first half of 2015, a point confirmed by many
service providers in the energy industry.
Secondly, consumption looks soft as retail sales fell by
1.7% in January, signs that consumers are staying
home. Also, that big boost from inventories will
reverse and become negative in the quarters ahead as
the closures of Target, Mexx, Jacob and Sony subtract
billions from the inventory tally this year.
Thirdly, it is true that many manufacturing industries
are seeing a boost in sales from the weaker loonie and
a stronger U.S. economy. Canada’s auto sector and
aerospace industry exports have been particularly
stellar. However, oil and gas accounts for 24% of
Canadian exports, and those prices have fallen by half.
It will take a long time before manufacturing can
compensate for a 12% hit to Canadian exports.
Canada’s domestic economy has a hit a soft patch, so
we should be braced for bad news in the first half of
2015. Overall GDP growth should come in around
1.8% this year, and Canadian businesses will have to
focus more than ever on exports if they want to
maintain the strong growth rates we’ve seen. In the
meantime, it looks like we may need that insurance.
Chamber 2015/16 Term is just underway. There were 6 director's seats up for grabs, and after we had 11 candidates apply for the positions, we posted their answers to our questions online and went to a vote. The election remained open for 2 weeks and we collected about 300 votes. It was a very close race! The final results saw directors with equal amount of votes as well as some 1, 2 and 3 apart. With the calibur of candidates we had, it is no wonder:
We are pleased to welcome back our incumbents Brian Bonsma & Tom Dyas for another term, as well as the following new directors:
They were elected alongside
incumbents and will round out the Board of 14
members. Ken Carmichael will lead as President and all will be sworn in later
this month. We are thrilled that so many were interested in joining our organization and look forward to the diversity these individuals will bring to the table.
Questionable Leadership Demonstrated by City Council’s Decision on CD-21