Message from the Minister and
Accountability Statement

Photograph -- Honourable Pat Bell.The 2005/06 – 2007/08 Service Plan Update laid out the Ministry of Agriculture and Lands' mandate to promote economic development and environmental sustainability for the agriculture and food sectors, supporting them in delivering safe, high-quality food, and to take a balanced approach to the administration of Crown land. Our mandate clearly supports the province's Five Great Goals for a Golden Decade.

To fulfill our goals, the Ministry has adopted a four-themed approach. We are finding ways to improve access to Crown land, increase access to capital, enhance the flow of knowledge and manage the urban/agriculture divide.

Agriculture and Lands

We are making progress in the quality of compliance and enforcement programming, technological innovation and working relationships in aquaculture. We look forward to hearing the recommendations of the Special Committee on Sustainable Aquaculture, the Pacific Salmon Forum and other stakeholders to ensure the best decisions are being made for coastal communities and the environment.

Challenges from global market forces mean that a forward-looking strategic plan for the agriculture and food sectors is critical to their long-term success. On February 17, 2006 a caucus committee was formed to conduct discussions with British Columbians, which will become the foundation of B.C.'s agriculture plan. Long-term planning is critical to the future of the sector.

The Ministry's capacity and responsiveness to emerging disease and pest issues continues to improve. In February 2006 government committed $13 million to expand our high-level biosecurity capacity at the Abbotsford laboratory. The lab will contain a section where staff can safely handle, identify and characterize diseases such as Avian Influenza and West Nile virus.

In August 2005 the U.S. re-opened their border to young Canadian livestock, allowing imports of cattle and bison less than 30 months of age, and goats and sheep less than 12 months old. The Ministry is working with the B.C. cattle industry to encourage implementation of cattle age verification by April 2007. This is an important element of tracking and traceability systems and of accessing key markets, especially in Asia-Pacific.

Over the past year, we have worked collaboratively with other government agencies, the First Nations and the private sector to ensure that British Columbians enjoy a sustainable flow of benefits from the administration of Crown land. During this period, we began development of a Crown Land Allocation Framework to provide direction for the future use of Crown land in British Columbia. Enhanced efforts were made to meet our legal requirements with First Nations and to support the emerging New Relationship with the province's Aboriginal people.

Our Contaminated Sites Policy Framework Team was nominated for the 2005 Premier's Innovation and Excellence Awards in the innovation category. The Crown Contaminated Sites Branch effectively managed remediation activities on 18 sites, including major progress on significant sites such as Britannia Mine, Yankee Girl Mine and Pacific Place.

The Crown Land Administration Division will continue to work closely with the Integrated Land Management Bureau (ILMB) providing operational and policy support to ensure seamless delivery of Crown land services to the public.

Integrated Land Management Bureau

The Integrated Land Management Bureau provides one-stop access to natural resource authorizations and information, and leads on completion of strategic land-use plans in a manner that supports sustainable economic development of the province's natural resources.

ILMB's achievements in its first year include:

The Central Coast and North Coast land-use decisions, announced in February. These represent a consensus between the province, First Nations, industry, environmental organizations, local governments and other stakeholders over land-use in a 6.4-million hectare area, more than twice the size of Belgium. Total combined protected areas for these regions are approximately 1.8 million hectares, more than three times the size of Prince Edward Island.

The decisions balance the needs of the environment with the need for sustainable jobs and a strong economic future for coast communities. Some of the most spectacular, ecologically diverse regions in the world are preserved, including critical Spirit Bear habitat.

Progress also continues on the Morice, Sea-to-Sky, Haida Gwaii/Queen Charlotte Islands and Lillooet Land and Resource Management Plan (LRMP) areas. Three northern LRMPs, Fort St. James, Mackenzie and Robson Valley, have been reviewed in light of the mountain pine beetle infestation. In addition, 51 lower-level type plans have been completed.

The Bureau has also been working on the government's New Relationship by engaging First Nations on the completion phase of six LRMPs and on consultations for 23 sustainable resource management plans.

ILMB has made great strides in improving client services, opening FrontCounter BC offices in Kamloops, Surrey, Prince George and Nanaimo. FrontCounter BC was developed in response to industry needs to streamline the regulatory process for natural resource operators by coordinating permitting and licensing with the government agencies involved. The Kamloops pilot project office won a Premier's Award for innovation and excellence in cross government integration.

Access to maps has also been improved with the opening of the Base Map Online Store in March. ILMB base map products and services are now available to customers online 24 hours a day, seven days a week. As well, the Bureau's Species-at-Risk Coordination Office manages recovery planning for species-at-risk, including the spotted owl, marbled murrelet and mountain caribou.

Through innovation, partnerships and consultation, the Ministry of Agriculture and Lands is moving ahead in growing our agriculture industry, ensuring our provincial economy is supported through access to Crown land and by providing its clients with the most efficient service possible.

The 2005/06 Ministry of Agriculture and Lands Annual Service Plan Report compares the actual results to the expected results identified in the Ministry's 2005/06 – 2007/08 Service Plan Update. I am accountable for those results as reported.

Honourable Pat Bell
Minister of Agriculture and Lands

June 30, 2006

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