On Jan. 26, Premier Ujjal Dosanjh and Forests Minister Gordon Wilson officially announced a land and resource management plan (LRMP) for the Sea-to Sky corridor. The completion of other LRMPs around the province has freed up enough resources to work towards consensus among stakeholders in the proposed LRMP area.
The boom in recreation and tourism, high forest and wildlife values, rapid community growth and transportation bottlenecks have made land-use issues in the Sea-to-Sky area a priority.
"Meetings sponsored last fall by the District of Squamish and the Council of Tourism Associations of B.C. clearly show there is strong community support for proceeding quickly with a comprehensive, focused land-use planning process," said Wilson.
A land and resource management plan for the area was a recommendation of the Protected Areas Strategy when it was completed in 1996.
The planning process will be led by an inter-governmental team, and First Nations, local governments, and recreation, tourism, forestry, mining and conservation groups are encouraged to participate in the process.
The same government agencies have been working behind the scenes to put together technical information and studies of current conditions and trends. Public open houses are planned for March.
"The goal of the Sea-to-Sky plan will be to balance and integrate the use of land outside of parks and protected areas," said Wilson. "We do not expect new protected areas will be established through this process, since the Lower Mainland protected area strategy was completed in 1996."
With over 81,000 hectares of new parks created in the Sea-to-Sky area as a result of the Protected Areas Strategy and the Lower Mainland Nature Legacy in the early 1990s, 22 per cent of the Squamish Forest District is now parkland. Since this important component of the LRMP has already been decided, Wilson says the process will move a lot faster than it has with other LRMPs for example the Lillooet LRMP is entering its sixth year without a final decision.
"I want the process to move quickly so we make efficient use of everyones time and effectively respond to rapid change in the area," said Wilson. "I have set a target date of fall 2002 for the completion of the Sea-to-Sky land and resource management plans."
To date, more than 70 per cent of B.C. is covered by LRMP plans that represent a wide range of values and activities.