A new agreement with First Nations in the north that provides certainty around resource development along with a reduced backlog of mining permits will help create jobs in the mining sector, Premier Christy Clark announced today in her speech to Round Up 2012.
"These are clear examples of government helping to lay the groundwork for job creation," said Premier Clark. "The land use agreement with the Kaska Dena First Nations will provide certainty and stability as we work together to build stable, family-supporting jobs in B.C.'s northwest for years to come."
"This agreement applies the vision and principles of the Kaska Dena to resource development, including revenue sharing and Kaska environmental monitoring throughout the life of a project," said George Miller, chair of the Kaska Dena Council. "The Horseranch Range that is protected as part of the agreement is a breadbasket for the Kaska Dena, where people in the region would go to when food was scarce. It is an area of regional importance that the elders have wanted to protect for a very long time."
Started in 2001, the Dease-Liard Sustainable Resource Management Plan provides overarching direction for over 2.3 million hectares of Crown land between the B.C.-Yukon border and Dease Lake.
"The clear ground rules established between the Province and Kaska Dena Council will provide the forests, minerals, tourism and energy sectors the stability they need to explore and invest in northern B.C.," said Steve Thomson, Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations.
The plan also includes a government-to-government Strategic Land Use Planning Agreement with the Kaska Dena Council that will guide future resource development within its traditional territory, but outside the new plan area. The agreement covers more than 7.4 million hectares from the Dease-Liard region to Mackenzie.
"We appreciated the opportunity to provide meaningful input on the Dease-Liard Sustainable Resource Management Plan," said Association for Mineral Exploration B.C. President and CEO, Gavin C. Dirom. "We fully support the Dease-Liard Plan and are encouraged by the large amount of territory that will remain available for mineral exploration activities and attract further investment, while striking a reasonable balance to protect certain lands from development."
The new Ne'ah protected area, also known as Horseranch Range, preserves several sites of cultural interest to Kaska Dena First Nations, as well as sensitive wetlands and wildlife values.
"We are immensely pleased to see the completion of the Dease Liard land use plan and particularly the creation of the Ne'ah protected area and GuChaGuga management area," said Chloe O'Loughlin, director of terrestrial conservation for the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society, B.C. Chapter. "We congratulate the Province of BC and the Kaska for their leadership in protecting this spectacular area, which is home to such a rich and varied suite of wildlife, and are proud to have helped to shape this historic agreement."
Premier Clark also announced significant progress on meeting the BC Jobs Plan goal of reducing the backlog in mining Notices of Work applications.
"We know that delays in resolving applications for land usage result in lost opportunities for job creation, which is why as part of the BC Jobs Plan our government invested $24 million to reduce the various backlogs that prevent projects from proceeding," said Premier Clark. "For example, we started with 229 overdue mining notices alone, and as of today we've cut that number to 85; we are ahead of schedule and delivering on our commitment to an 80 per cent reduction by September."
Progress on backlog reduction in mining applications and Land and Water Act authorizations can be tracked at http://www.bcjobsplan.ca/progress/resource-sector-permits/ which will be updated monthly.
- The Dease-Liard Sustainable Resource Management Plan was created in two phases. The first phase concluded in 2005, with a focus on legal objectives for forestry, wildlife and biodiversity. The second phase contains five new chapters on tourism and recreation, minerals and aggregates, oil and gas, plus access and protection.
- The Kaska Dena Council represents the Kwadacha, Daylu Dene and Dease River bands. The council was a full partner in developing the plan, with all decisions made by consensus.
Complete copies of the Dease Liard plan are available at http://ilmbwww.gov.bc.ca/slrp/srmp/north/dease-liard/index.html"
To view a graphic of the decreased backlog in Notice of Work applications, visit: http://www.newsroom.gov.bc.ca/downloads/NoticeOfWorkApplications.pdf
Office of the Premier
Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations
Negotiator, Kaska Dena Council