Land use plan discussed at tourism meeting

  • Apr. 11, 2003 11:00 a.m.

A co-chair of the Land Use Planning Process, just getting underway on the islands, explained it to the Haida Gwaii tourist association at its meeting Thursday night in Port.
Gilbert Parnell told the association the deadline to be represented at the planning table is approaching, and that tourism is one sector that will be represented.
“Who will be sitting there is yet to be determined, Mr. Parnell said, “(we’re) looking for someone who can represent various interests. We don’t want to deter anyone from applying”.
Mr. Parnell explained that the process includes the three levels of government-Haida, municipal and provincial- and will have representation from several industry groups, including tourism.
“The table works by consensus, those things the table cannot agree on would go to another table where the province and CHN would try to reach agreement, ” Mr. Parnell said.
The planning process is expected to get underway in June and take fifteen months, and will guide land use decisions at least until the Haida land question is decided.
Eco-system based management will guide the process, Mr. Parnell said, noting that he recognizes there will be resource use on the islands in the future, but that it ought not to damage the environment, and that sound, sustainable practices should be followed.
“The Haida land use vision will include values of our Haida people. Those values will be translated into a document to set the tone for activities on the land”, he said. Mr. Parnell also said he thinks most people on the islands share similar values, “this land is really special, use it in a special way.”
One problem raised by members of the tourism association is time. Most tourism operators cannot afford to put the predicted fifteen hours a month into the process for fifteen months, Mr. Parnell was told. But he hinted that there may be money available to pay those participating, something that has not been done elsewhere in the province. “I can’t tell you if we would pay, but it is something we really have to look at,” he said.
Mr. Parnell also noted the LUPP will not address the issue of ownership, “but building the agreement together is an acknowledgement of each other. It is going to be a tough process, but I am excited about it, he said.”