Message from the Minister and
Accountability Statement

Photograph -- Honourable Pat Bell.I am pleased to present the Ministry of Agriculture and Lands’ 2006/07–2008/09 Service Plan.

British Columbia has a great climate, fertile soil, crop diversity, proximity to markets, and the drive to move ahead in a competitive world. As minister responsible, I will do everything I can to ensure that British Columbia’s agriculture and food sector, continue as one of the engines that drive our economy so we can leave a legacy of opportunity.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Lands is taking a four-themed approach to continue strengthening the investment climate in B.C.’s agriculture sector. We will find ways to increase access to capital, improve access to Crown land, enhance the flow of knowledge and manage the urban/agriculture divide.

Under the leadership of Premier Gordon Campbell we will use this four-theme approach to make a meaningful contribution to meeting the Five Great Goals for a Golden Decade, outlined in the 2005 speech from the throne.

The ministry is committed to maximizing benefits from the agriculture and food sectors, taking a balanced approach to the administration of Crown lands, ensuring safe and healthy food systems and continuing to develop world class environmental management practices.

Building on contributions from a MLA committee chaired by Parliamentary Secretary Val Roddick, the Agriculture Plan for British Columbia will support the Great Goals of “creating more jobs per capita than anywhere else in Canada”, and “leading the world in sustainable environmental management with the best air, water quality and fisheries management”. This goal will also be supported by our aquaculture strategy. We will review the strategy with input from the Select Standing Committee on Aquaculture, and the Pacific Salmon Forum led by John Fraser to ensure the industry continues to perform to high environmental standards, and to explore opportunities for technological advancement and innovation.

I am committed to helping the agricultural and aquaculture industries be more competitive, both with the rest of Canada and internationally. In order to improve access to capital, we will seek opportunities to promote B.C.’s natural resource-based economy, take advantage of the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, and expand trade in the Asia-Pacific region.

The ministry will support government’s Great Goal of “leading the way in North America in healthy living and physical fitness” by ensuring through food safety regulations, enforcement and bio-security measures that B.C.’s agriculture and food sectors continue to produce sustainable, healthy food products. The ministry will champion the B.C. School Fruit and Vegetable Snack Program, part of the Province’s ActNow BC initiative.

Crown land administration across the Province will be enhanced through consultation and improving relations with First Nations, and by developing policies to ensure long term sustainable benefits for all British Columbians. The ministry will continue to use a science based approach to managing contaminated sites that are the responsibility of the Province.

The Integrated Land Management Bureau, created in the summer of 2005, is committed to providing high-quality, client-focused Crown land and resource management and information services. The bureau is providing single-point-of-contact services to businesses and individuals seeking information and authorizations for the use of Crown land and resources on behalf of a growing list of ministries and agencies.

The bureau is also working to finalize six strategic land use plans for government decisions. The current priority is on finalizing negotiations with First Nations and providing sufficient information to government. Another bureau priority is to revise a number of plans to account for Mountain Pine Beetle impacts. Additionally, the ILMB is coordinating the development of recovery plans for three species-at-risk: mountain caribou, northern spotted owl and marbled murrelets, as well as delivering resource information across B.C.

The ILMB reports to six deputy ministers who serve as an advisory board for the bureau (Agriculture and Lands, Forests and Range, Environment, Tourism, Sport and Arts, Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation and Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources).

The programs and priorities set out in the 2006/07–2008/09 Service Plan reflect the ministry’s commitment to make valuable contributions to the well-being of all British Columbians. I encourage you to read the plan, as it provides an excellent overview, clearly setting out our priorities for the next three years.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Lands 2006/07–2008/09 Service Plan was prepared under my direction in accordance with the Budget Transparency and Accountability Act. I am accountable for the basis on which the plan has been prepared. All material fiscal assumptions and policy decisions as of February 8, 2006 have been considered in preparing the plan and I am accountable for achieving the specific objectives of the plan.

Honourable Pat Bell
Minister of Agriculture and Lands

February 8, 2006

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