Welcome to the February edition of my e-Newsletter.
Introduced Feb. 21, Balanced Budget 2017 provides some good news for my ministry.
The BC Rural Dividend Fund was extended for a fourth year, bringing the total funding commitment up to $100 million.
I’ve just finished reviewing the second round of project applications and announcements will be made very soon.
Budget 2017 also includes a one-time, $10-million investment for land management activities to control invasive plants and improve Crown range fencing around the province.
As part of funding for the Parks Future Strategy, my ministry is receiving $2.2 million in 2017/18 specific to campsite expansion at the ministry’s recreation sites around the province.
On Feb. 24, Premier Christy Clark announced $150 million for the Forest Enhancement Society of British Columbia.
This investment will restore forests adversely affected by mountain pine beetle and wildfire, and assist in our fight against climate change. At the same time, it will create over 3,000 jobs in rural B.C.
The ministry will also be spending $27 million over the next three years on a caribou recovery program to help reverse declining populations and ensure long-term survival of this endangered animal.
I look forward to another productive year and will continue to work to ensure our forest sector is economically and environmentally sustainable and will provide jobs for families in British Columbia.
Until next month.
Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations
OTHER MINISTRY NEWS
B.C. STREAMLINES ONLINE HUNTING FORMS, WILDFIRE INESTIGATIONS - Legislative amendments introduced Feb. 28, 2017, will make it easier for hunters to complete licensing, permitting and reporting activities online, and also will give wildfire investigators more time to complete their work and streamline the cost-recovery process associated with human-caused wildfires.
PROVINCE APPROVES WHISTLER BLACKCOMB MASTER DEVELOPMENT AGREEMENTS - The Province continues to support First Nations partnerships, major re-investment and development plans in B.C. with the approval of master plan updates and the signing of new 60-year Master Development Agreements for Whistler Blackcomb on Feb. 24, 2017.
BC RURAL DIVIDEND - OVER $750,000 GRANTED TO SUPPORT RURAL FAMILIES - The B.C. government is following through on its commitment to support economic diversification in rural British Columbia by distributing over $750,000 in new project-development grants to help small communities strengthen local economies.
PROPOSED ADVENTURE PARK TENURE MOVES FORWARD - The Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations has approved a 30-year adventure tourism/commercial recreation tenure for Illecillewaet Development Limited Partnership’s proposed adventure park, 10 kilometres northeast of Revelstoke.
DAM SAFETY PROGRAM RELEASES 2015-16 ANNUAL REPORT - B.C.’s Dam Safety Program moved forward under new legislation that strengthens the ability of dam safety staff to inspect, audit and remediate more than 1,800 regulated dams in the province.
HERITAGE WEEK 2017 - My Canada! My BC! was the theme for this year’s Heritage Week, which ran from Feb. 13 to Feb. 19, 2017, in British Columbia.
FIRE AND FIRE SAFETY
$150-MILLION REFORESTATION INVESTMENT WILL HELP FIGHT CLIMATE CHANGE, CREATE MORE RURAL JOBS - On Feb. 17, Premier Christy Clark announced $150 million for the Forest Enhancement Society of British Columbia to plant tens of millions more trees, which will help fight climate change and create over 3,000 jobs in rural British Columbia.
LOGGING TRAILERS BUILT IN VANDERHOOF A BOON TO INDUSTRY - FreFlyt Industries is doing its part to help find efficiencies in the forest sector. The company’s new, nine-axle logging truck trailers make it more efficient for Interior logging companies to move logs from the bush to the mill site.
FEDERAL-PROVINCIAL TASK FORCE ON SOFTWOOD LUMBER - Minister Thomson issued a statement on Feb. 22, regarding the federal Minister of Natural Resources’ announcement of a federal-provincial task force on softwood lumber.
FISH AND WILDLIFE
B.C. COMMITS $27 MILLION TO ENHANCE CARIBOU RECOVERY - Demonstrating the province’s commitment to species-at-risk, Premier Christy Clark announced Feb. 1, that the Province is investing $27 million on a comprehensive, caribou recovery program.