Skip to content

Coquitlam MLA to continue watershed advocacy with new legislative role

Fin Donnelly is widely known of his love for B.C. waters and their surrounding environment.
Coquitlam-Burke Mountain MLA Fin Donnelly is the new parliamentary secretary for watershed restoration.

Fin Donnelly has a new title at the B.C. legislature.

And it's with a new "priority" mandate that was appointed by Premier David Eby today (Jan. 20).

Donnelly has been named the parliamentary secretary for watershed restoration — a new division set to focus on protecting watersheds across the province.

The Coquitlam–Burke Mountain MLA has been without an official position for more than two months as he wasn't given a portfolio or executive council role when Eby unveiled his cabinet in December.

Donnelly's new job arguably fits his M.O. considering his years of community and volunteer service for watersheds across the Tri-Cities.

"Excited to get to work as B.C.'s first ever Watershed Restoration Parliamentary Secretary," Donnelly wrote in a social media post.

"Watersheds are the lifeblood of our province, but we need to work together to heal and protect them."

"As a decades-long advocate for environmental protection, I can't think of anyone better than Fin Donnelly to serve as our government's first Parliamentary Secretary for Watershed Restoration," Eby added in a provincial government release. 

"I know we can count on him to work with First Nations, communities and stakeholders to help protect our clean water sources now and for future generations."

Donnelly, a former Tri-Cities federal politician, was elected to represent Coquitlam-Burke Mountain after the 2020 snap-provincial election.

In the two years leading up to Horgan's retirement and Eby's election, he served as parliamentary secretary of fisheries and aquaculture.

Donnelly has helped bring millions of dollars to B.C. organizations dedicated to preserving watersheds, including a piece of a $30.5-million investment in April 2022 to a joint Port Coquitlam project between the kʷikʷəƛ̓əm (Kwikwetlem) First Nation, UBC and the Metro Vancouver regional district.

It's set to save wild Pacific salmon for the local environment, as well as those who depend on the fish for everyday life.

"I am so grateful for the work our project partners do. I appreciate their enthusiasm and dedication to the protection and restoration of wild salmon habitats," said Donnelly during the announcement alongside Coquitlam—Port Coquitlam MP Ron McKinnon.

"BCSRIF [BC Salmon Restoration and Innovation Fund] projects are diverse in location, scale and approach. They demonstrate the importance of salmon and fisheries to B.C. communities up and down the coast, and in the interior. Researchers and experts are harnessing the use of advanced technology in science, as well as the wealth of Indigenous knowledge in their projects."

Donnelly has also spent most of his life raising awareness of protecting the Fraser River.

Since 1995, he's spoken to more than 60,000 people in hundreds of schools and communities about sustainable living, and has been honoured by Indigenous bands across B.C. for his advocacy.