Resource ministries not going back

Forests

VICTORIA – Premier Christy Clark’s shuffle of B.C. resource ministries is not a reversal of the previous government’s effort to streamline industrial project approvals, the minister responsible says.

Kelowna-Mission MLA Steve Thomson has added forests and lands to his title along with natural resource operations. Thomson was assigned last year to oversee the centralization of land use permits that remains the most controversial of former premier Gordon Campbell’s changes.

Unveiling her first cabinet last week, Clark named Abbotsford-Mission MLA Randy Hawes as a parliamentary secretary to review natural resource operations. But Thomson said that should not be interpreted as a retreat.

“We’re obviously going to look at how that all fits together in the new ministry, and that’s part of Randy Hawes’ job as well,” Thomson said in an interview. “But the basic objective of what we’re trying to achieve in natural resource operations – one project, one process – stays exactly the same.”

Critics have said streamlining approvals for roads, logging, mining and energy projects is a recipe for lowering standards in the name of job creation. Clark has placed a further emphasis on rural resource jobs by moving Prince George-Mackenzie MLA Pat Bell from forests to a new ministry of jobs, tourism and innovation.

Going into the new cabinet’s first meeting last week, Bell said he is expected to help develop new industries as well as expand the existing forestry and mining sectors.

“The job Premier Clark has given me is to go out and create jobs, and I intend to do that,” Bell said.

Clark campaigned on a promise to deliver rural jobs, and has carried on Campbell’s effort to simplify federal as well as provincial environmental approvals. One of Clark’s first acts as premier was to lobby Prime Minister Stephen Harper for federal approval of a gold and copper mine in the Cariboo region.

Just Posted

Rescued Kelowna skier shares appreciation of COSAR team

A skier was found out of bounds near Big White by Central Okanagan Search and Rescue

Okanagan weather watch: Snow on the way

Flurries have been predicted for most of the Okanagan Valley today

Kelowna Chiefs win KIJHL regular season title

The Chiefs have the best record in the league going into the playoffs

West Kelowna Warriors win final home game of season in OT

The Warriors will play their final game of the season Saturday against Trail

Piles of debris hauled from Summerland rock slide site

Material removed from site would more than fill an Olympic swimming pool

Music Rundown: Who you should be watching play live this week

Fill your calendar this week with these great shows

Letter: Will Kelowna councillors stick to healthy housing vow?

One Kelowna reader weighs in to the debate

Pope’s sex abuse prevention summit explained

It’s A high-stakes meeting designed to impress on Catholic bishops the global problem

B.C. ticket holder winner of $25.9-million Lotto Max jackpot

Next draw set for Mar. 1 with an estimated jackpot of $10 million

Have you heard the legend of Shuswaggi, the Shuswap Lake monster?

Witness accounts as old as 1904, and as recent as 2018, place a creature in the lake’s depths

Girl heard saying ‘Help my Dad’ in suspicious radio message on Vancouver Island

Police asking for help following mysterious signals from somewhere between Comox and Sayward

Reports of rashes prompt closure of all Harrison Hot Springs pools

Public pool available after Fraser Health shut down all five mineral pools until further notice

No treatment for highly infectious measles, says doctor

10 cases of measles confirmed in Vancouver as of Friday

Two more measles cases confirmed in Vancouver

It brings the number of total cases within the city connected to the outbreak to ten

Most Read