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Province takes another step towards a B.C. Resort Strategy

Three weeks after the B.C. Resort Task Force released its recommendations, the provincial government and the Union of B.C. Municipalities (UBCM) have agreed to work together on resort development.

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The province and UBCM have agreed to participate in the work of the municipal sub-committee on the Resort Task Force, which will work in the following areas:

• The Sequencing Project, which examines the planning, servicing and governance issues involved in the transition from a resort proposal to a fully functioning resort community.

• The Best Practices Guide, that provides both emerging and established resort communities with the tools to reach their goals efficiently.

• The Municipal/Crown Land Linkage Project that harmonizes provincial and local government project review mechanisms, including the Commercial Alpine Ski Policy and local government planning and zoning processes.

Minister of State for Resort Development Sandy Santori said the agreement between his department and UBCM should benefit all British Columbians.

"By working with local governments we can realize common goals that support jobs in B.C. communities and put more money into local economies," said Santori.

UBCM Chairman Frank Leonard said he expected the province and the Resort Task Force to implement "major changes" to the resort development system.

"The agreement to work with Minister Santori is simply an agreement to work together on streamlining and making the decision making process around resort applications more effective with less duplication in the process," said Leonard.

"We’re going to need to make some agreements on some parallel processes, whether it’s local government or provincial government doing some work at the same time or you have one review suffice for the two of us.

"It certainly doesn’t make sense that (resort proposals have to go through) provincial reviews and then at the end of that process you start some local reviews.

"I think there can be some major change… I don’t think tinkering is going to help."

One of the big resort applications now circulating around the system is the Garibaldi at Squamish resort proposal at Brohm Ridge, situated just north of Squamish. That project is due back in court on Sept. 10. The Squamish Nation is contesting the project.

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