People in the area are talking about the need for local involvement in decision making on the land base. Many people feel that the government is making decisions without considering local opinion.
This feeling is valid considering that over the last 11 years, the BC Liberal government has very deliberately taken legislative steps which removed previous requirements for local participation in decision making.
In 2003, the government passed the Significant Projects Streamlining Act which allows the government to override local jurisdiction on projects they deem to be provincially significant.
Bill 30, also known as the Ashlu River bill, removed the power of local governments to make decisions on whether or not private power river-diversion projects should go ahead on public lands.
And community land use planning groups which have developed Integrated Resource Plans have been disbanded and the need for community consultation on land use has been eliminated.
These are only a few examples of the ways that this government has taken you out of the decision-making process. Weve seen that the quality of decisions being made has been lessened as local wisdom has been ignored.
I believe that we need to build resiliency in rural communities and that means that local residents must have a say on how our land base is used. I believe that those who rely on the land base for employment, recreation and the protection of environmental values will make the best decisions.
And I believe that local involvement ensures that the public interest is always at the forefront of policy decisions, something that has been lacking for too long in British Columbia.
Norm Macdonald MLA
Columbia River – Revelstoke