KAMLOOPS — The provincial government has announced a review of the professional reliance model used in B.C.'s natural resource industry.
Environment Minister George Heyman says the government is undergoing the review to ensure "the public interest is protected when it comes to resource management in B.C."
The professional reliance model is one where industry retains qualified professionals who review and certify construction, environmental, water protection and other standards.
Some examples are foresters, biologists, engineers and geoscientists who develop and oversee the implementation of natural resource activities on behalf of government and public.
Under this system, Heyman says "resource companies themselves retain and pay for those experts to do that specialized work while the companies are responsible for compliance with B.C.'s laws."
He notes the review has become necessary because "there are people who have lost confidence that their government is doing enough to prevent environmenal emergencies."
"Many people are wondering if more could have been done to preempt some of the situations that they've recently faced in different parts of the province."
For example, in the mining sector as seen with the environmental disaster at the Mt. Polley mine in the Chilcotin three summers ago.
He says the review will include recomendations with input from industry, business, and the general public, including First Nations. The review is expected to be completed by next spring.
Green Party MLA Sonia Furstenau declared her enthusiastic support for the review of a system she says "has failed so many communities across British Columbia."
"Resource development has been the backbone of many B.C. communities. It is essential that resource development be done with the support and confidence of the communities in which it occurs," she says.
"By ensuring that people have trust in government and in industry to protect their health and safety, we can build thriving local economies that will sustain for the long term."
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