Thursday, September 5, 2013

Over the last decade, the BC Liberals have sorely failed to devise or implement serious land-use plans

dan brooks, bc conservative
Dan Brooks, former BC Conservative
candidate for Nechako Lakes
Today's Conservative Thoughts piece comes from former Nechako Lakes BC Conservative candidate Dan Brooks. 
A comprehensive and innovative Community Land Use Planning Initiative for northern communities needs to be a key priority for the government of BC.  Land-use planning is a critical component of resource development. Yet, over the last decade, the BC Liberals have sorely failed to devise or implement serious land-use plans. 
It is essential to engage communities in land use planning -- communities must have a greater say in how projects and resources are developed. 
Any new initiative needs to have: 
1. Clear Expectations - When new projects are proposed or under consideration, it is important that community expectations are clearly delineated in relation to how they benefit or impact stakeholders. 
Communicating clear expectations is essential if stakeholder and community concerns are to be met.  Land use planning is the best vehicle to convey those interests, and afterwards it will be up to businesses to determine if a project is viable given the community expectations. 
2. Predictable Outcomes - Greater certainty is essential in attracting business investment for resource development. Project approval should be a predictable outcome if businesses meet the expectations set out for them through land use planning. Likewise, failure to meet those expectations should result in project rejection. 
It is unfair to companies who invest millions in resource development to have a project rejected due to unpredictable vague platitudes about land use. 

It is also unfair for communities, stakeholders and first nations, who are impacted by resource development, to see their values marginalized or diminished by insufficient measures used in response to their concerns. 
A Community Land Use Planning Initiative also needs to include the creation of a dispute resolution mechanism; the establishment of measurable land use objectives and standards for values; and, provincial policy reviews based on input. 
A Community Land Use Planning Initiative, such as this, will show leadership by taking a proactive approach.  It will let communities chart their own futures, and will encourage economic development by attracting greater investment. 
When communities engage in land use planning -- that sets clear expectations with predictable outcomes for industry, the public, stakeholders and first nations -- everyone wins. 
Again, these are the thoughts of BC Conservative Dan Brooks.  Do you agree ... disagree?  What are your thoughts on this topic.
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