Twenty new conservation officers will soon begin their postings across B.C.
“For too long, there has been a lack of frontline conservation officers, and communities have suffered the consequences,” Environment Minister George Heyman said in a news release Thursday.
Following training slated to begin in May, 12 of the new conservation officers will be based in newly created positions, including in Grand Forks, Vernon, Haida Gwaii, Duncan, Chilliwack, Port McNeill, Bella Coola, Chetwynd, Mackenzie and Atlin.
Others will fill open positions in Quesnel, Terrace, Creston, Prince George, Merritt and Fort St. John, and two positions in the Lower Mainland.
The ministry said implementing positions in new locations is based on officer safety, call volume, each officer’s coverage area and the geographic proximity to other officers.
The new hires bring the number of conservation officers in B.C. to 160, and come as part of the $3 million in increased funding in the 2018 provincial budget.
Chief conservation officer Doug Forsdick said the additional hires mean more eyes and ears to respond to complaints, educate people, prevent human-wildlife conflicts and protect natural resources.