Wednesday, April 16, 2014
Riparian Care Lacking in BC
Ombudsperson report suggests 25 areas of improvement
Released by Aexis Lunn, BCO/Web photo Kim Carter
rovincial Ombudsperson Kim Carter released today her office's latest report Striking a Balance: The Challenges of Using a Professional Reliance Model in Environmental Protection - British Columbia's Riparian Areas Regulation.
This systemic investigation into an environmental protection program
concludes there has been a lack of oversight, training, information and
reporting of the program by the provincial government. Twenty five
recommendations were made to the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural
Resource Operations to ensure the Riparian Areas Regulation (RAR) functions
in an administratively fair manner as it relates to the challenges and
complexities associated with development. Twenty four of the 25
recommendations have been accepted.
The Regulation applies to the southeast coast of Vancouver Island, the Lower
Mainland (except the City of Vancouver), Fraser Valley, Sunshine Coast,
Thompson-Okanagan and Columbia-Shuswap regions. The RAR relies on qualified
professionals to conduct assessments and make decisions about how riparian
areas should be protected in the development process. The ministry has an
important oversight role in monitoring the ongoing implementation of the RAR
by local governments, qualified professionals and developers.
In addition to investigating individual complaints, the Ombudsperson also conducts systemic investigations into complex issues. The Ombudsperson has jurisdiction over a wide range of public agencies, including provincial government ministries, crown corporations, government boards, schools, universities and colleges, local governments and self-regulating professions.
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