(Andrew Hudson/Haida Gwaii Observer)

Correcting the history of the Delkatla Wildlife Sanctuary

We just thought we’d drop you a line regarding your recent article in the Observer relating to the work undertaken by Ducks Unlimited at Delkatla Wildlife Sanctuary. There were some errors and misunderstandings inherent in the article and we are forwarding some background; it’s taken us a little while to get to it, but it’s important for the future of Delkatla.

It is important to recognize that Delkatla Sanctuary Society (DSS) raised, managed and spent the funds for the original restoration plan in 1994 and helped to oversee the work. They put their personal and financial reputations on the line for it and saw it through to the end. Board members were, individually, responsible for any cost overruns. The society lost three board members when the time came to sign those agreements. Fortunately for Delkatla, others stepped up to the plate.

We agree that Ducks Unlimited contributed in a major way financially and they signed their restoration agreement with the Village of Masset, but there were many other partners involved. We were surprised to read, therefore, (Sept 8, 2017) that Ducks Unlimited and the Village of Masset agreed to “restore and protect Delkatla Slough, starting with replacing the former causeway to Masset with a $1 million bridge that allowed tidewater to flow…”

For some historical perspective, DSS actually raised the funds for the bridge and played a lead role in gathering the partners together. When the funds were raised, the Village put the brakes on the work (we were in attendance and have the minutes when this occurred) and decided not to go ahead with it at that time. The only reason it continued was because DSS had the funds in hand and the funders, including the federal and provincial governments, urged it to proceed. Of course we recognize Ducks Unlimited’s contribution, they were a major part of the partnership, although their funds went through the Village of Masset.

We were a little surprised that you called the area “Delkatla Slough” (three times!). It has been the Delkatla Wildlife Sanctuary for over forty years! It is more accurate to call it by its name; we find it more respectful and educational for the general public to use the word sanctuary. We would really appreciate it if you would call it by its proper name.

Peter Hamel

President, Delkatla Sanctuary Society

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