Message from the Minister
and Accountability Statement

Photograph -- Honourable Barry Penner.British Columbia is Canada's most biologically diverse province. The wealth of our natural environment affords residents and visitors alike extraordinary benefits — clean air and water, strong, sustainable resources and exceptional recreational opportunities. The ministry is committed to sustainable environmental management, and our work helps safeguard British Columbia's ecosystems, communities and economic well-being.

I am proud to present the 2007/08 – 2009/10 Service Plan for the Ministry of Environment and Environmental Assessment Office. This plan outlines our continued dedication to protecting our environmental heritage and sustaining B.C.'s prosperous economy.

People are an important part of British Columbia's diverse landscapes, and community stability is critical for the long-term future of our land base and ecosystems. In this service plan, we continue to uphold the government's Great Goal of leading the world in sustainable environmental management through innovative alliances with communities, First Nations, industries, businesses, non-governmental organizations and local, provincial and federal governments.

Many of our partnerships, such as the ground-breaking collaboration that resulted in the Central and North Coast land use plans, offer new ways of examining our land base so that we can provide for stability and long-term sustainability of the ecosystems we all rely on. This is an enormous step and evidence of the successful, pioneering partnerships we are striving to forge.

Key to our success in sustainable land and resource management is the Environmental Assessment Office (EAO). The EAO operates independently and manages the assessment of environmental impacts of major development proposals in British Columbia. It does this by delivering a predictable, open and timely process to ensure proposed major projects are developed in a sustainable manner. The EAO works with First Nations, government agencies and the public to ensure environmental issues associated with major projects are addressed in an appropriate manner.

Climate change is of great local, regional and global significance. We take our role as leader of the provincial government's response to this issue very seriously. The province has set a new target to reduce B.C.'s greenhouse gas emissions by at least 33 per cent below current levels by 2020. This target will place British Columbia's greenhouse gas emissions at 10 per cent under 1990 levels.

A Climate Action Team will be established. Working with First Nations, other governments, industries, environmental organizations, and the scientific community, it will determine the most credible, aggressive, and economically viable sector targets possible for 2012 and 2016. A longer-term emissions reduction target for 2050 will also be established for British Columbia.

British Columbia's rivers and waterways help define us as a province. They are the lifeblood of our environment, our economy and our communities. We are dedicated to maintaining healthy fish habitat. The $21 million Living Rivers Trust Fund demonstrates our commitment and that of our partners to share resources, expertise and knowledge to ensure healthy watersheds, sustainable ecosystems and flourishing B.C. communities.

We are continuing to lead environmental and water stewardship initiatives through progressive legislation such as the addition of electronic waste to the B.C. Recycling Regulation and the completion of Phase 2 of the B.C. Ground Water Protection Regulation, which safeguards against ground water contamination and improves information about B.C.'s ground water resources. Such rigorous regulations help us improve the safety and quality of British Columbia's land and water by requiring the compliance and partnership of industry and well drillers across the province. The ministry is committed to implementing the B.C. Water Action Plan as an important part of its goal to sustain British Columbia's precious freshwater and marine resources.

With the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, we have a unique opportunity to raise international awareness of British Columbia to an even higher plateau. Our efforts to provide outstanding recreation opportunities in our parks are expected to increase the volume of international tourism to British Columbia. Changing demographics and expectations are requiring us to look for ways of providing park visitors with a wider range of options and promote participation in outdoor activities. We are developing fresh approaches to encourage young people, adults and visitors alike to explore the splendour of our natural world and reap healthful benefits.

Our efforts to reduce costly, time-consuming regulatory processes for resource operators, while ensuring high environmental standards, are paying off with the success of such cross government partnerships as FrontCounter BC, a single point of contact for natural resource authorizations. Such endeavours, along with our continuing review and streamlining of legislation will help stimulate resource development and growth opportunities for the benefit of all British Columbians. The EAO makes an invaluable contribution to investment in British Columbia through the exemplary management of increasing numbers of projects within the environmental assessment process. Proponents have expressed high levels of satisfaction with British Columbia's environmental assessment process and the knowledge and competence of EAO staff. In March 2006, the EAO received the Premier's Award for Organizational Excellence in recognition of the Office's professionalism and continuing contribution to the well-being of British Columbia.

The Ministry of Environment's 2007/08 – 2009/10 Service Plan and the Environmental Assessment Office's 2007/08 – 2009/10 Service Plan were 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 16, 2007 have been considered in preparing the plan and I am accountable for achieving the specific objectives in the plan.

Honourable Barry Penner
Minister of Environment and
Minister Responsible for Water Stewardship and Sustainable Communities

February 16, 2007

Balanced Budget 2007 Home. Next