Message from the Minister
and Accountability Statement

Photograph -- Honourable Pat Bell.It is my pleasure to present the Ministry of Agriculture and Lands' 2007/08 – 2009/10 Service Plan. This plan outlines the strategic priorities and key initiatives for the Ministry over the next three years as we continue, under Premier Gordon Campbell's leadership, to contribute to the Five Great Goals for a Golden Decade.

The Ministry is committed to providing high-quality, client-focused Crown land and resource management. To further that goal, the Integrated Land Management Bureau's FrontCounter BC offices give natural resource-based clients a single window to access information on more than 80 different types of natural resource authorizations and permits.

The Bureau is also working on the implementation of the Central and North Coast land-use decision and finalizing four strategic land-use plans for government decisions. In addition, the Bureau is providing leadership in championing the New Relationship initiative with First Nations, incorporating their interests in Land and Resource Management Plan implementation. Another Bureau priority is to revise a number of plans to account for Mountain Pine Beetle impacts.

While working to implement the Northern Spotted Owl decision of last spring, the Bureau is also coordinating the development of species-at-risk recovery plans for the Mountain Caribou and Marbled Murrelet. The Bureau is also working with partner ministries to coordinate the development of a Species-at-Risk Action Plan that shifts the Province's approach to species-at-risk management from a reactive to a proactive model.

The Ministry strives to achieve world-leading stewardship of land, farm and food systems for the health and prosperity of British Columbians.

The factors that affect agriculture are changing and it is important that we adapt to them. An invaluable asset to British Columbia's economy, agriculture is an extremely dynamic industry, with global markets, weather uncertainties and cost pressures. In order to secure the sector's long-term profitability, we must collectively address these challenges. We continue to be guided by three themes in our efforts to do this — improving access to Crown land, enhancing the flow of knowledge, and managing the urban/agricultural divide.

A new Agriculture Plan for British Columbia, based on recommendations from a committee led by Parliamentary Secretary Val Roddick, with input from citizens in all corners of the province, will be complete in 2007. The plan will support the development of a long-term vision for agriculture that will sustain and facilitate the growth and diversification of the agri-food sectors. The Ministry is also looking at agricultural products for uses other than food, that is, textiles and bio-fuels.

A new Bio-containment Level 3 laboratory, to be built as an addition to the Animal Health Centre in Abbotsford, will provide faster identification of potential disease threats to both humans and animals.

Our work with the aquaculture industry will ensure that the industry is competitive and meets B.C.'s rigorous environmental standards. We will continue to focus on open, honest exchanges with environmentalists, industry and First Nations, as we develop a modern and sustainable aquaculture industry in B.C. and work towards our goal of the best fisheries management, bar none.

As Minister responsible for the management of Crown land, I am committed to making Crown land decisions based on balancing social, environmental and economic interests. Since 2001, the Province has committed more than $116 million to identify and cleanup a number of B.C. Crown contaminated sites. We have earmarked an additional $48 million for this work over 2007 – 2009.

We have already achieved a number of successes in remediating Crown contaminated sites, including cleanup of an abandoned landfill beside the Pitt River as well as remediation of the historic Britannia Mine site. The Britannia Mine Water Treatment Plant recently won awards from the Canadian Public Private Partnership Association and the Fraser Basin Council. This success story is an example of the strong leadership we will continue to demonstrate in remediation of provincial contaminated sites.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Lands' 2007/08 – 2009/10 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 12, 2007 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 12, 2007

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