The Ministry of Water, Land and Air Protection is committed to protecting the province's water, land and air in partnership with all British Columbians. Our ministry understands the government's goal of sustained economic competitiveness assumes British Columbians must maximize the benefits from our natural resources, maintain the quality of our environment, and enhance the health of our communities. It is this balance that the ministry is working toward — all within the realm of a balanced provincial budget.
This Annual Service Plan Report outlines our achievements in relation to our 2003/04 – 2005/06 Service Plan. Our ministry is committed to streamlining processes and regulation. We have modernized regulatory requirements and legislation in environmental management. By removing unnecessary process and outdated regulation, we are focusing government resources on making decisions that provide certainty, clarity, opportunity and results — and doing so quickly. In 2003/04, the new Integrated Pest Management Act, the new Environmental Management Act and the Flood Hazard Statutes Amendment Act received Royal Assent. These changes in legislation allow ministry staff to focus on higher risk activities, to spend more time monitoring for compliance, to accelerate cleanup of contaminated sites and to have the resources to be responsive to environmental emergencies.
Over the past year, we have dedicated funds for conservation and outdoor recreation projects to improve environmental stewardship in the areas of fish protection, agricultural land preservation and wetland habitat conservation. The ministry continued to work with communities, academic institutions, First Nations, non-profit organizations, industry, business and other government agents to maintain and restore the ecological diversity of fish and wildlife species and their habitats and to provide and enhance outdoor recreation and tourism opportunities in British Columbia.
British Columbia's natural resources are precious. In 2003, the Water, Land, and Air Protection Statutes Amendment Act and the Parks and Protected Areas Statutes Amendment Act received Royal Assent. This legislation ensures water, land and air protection, yet allows for recreational and commercial opportunities so that visitors and residents can enjoy the natural beauty of this province.
I would like to thank ministry staff, our colleagues in other ministries, our numerous partners outside of government and the people of British Columbia for their support of our efforts to make decisions informed by science, which allow for economic development while protecting our natural resources.
Honourable Bill Barisoff
Minister of Water, Land and Air Protection