The land use plan for the islands isn’t stalled, says Minister of Agriculture and Lands Pat Bell, but he admits it is moving very slowly.
The land use planning process began in 2003 when a community forum was formed to represent different interests in the land base. They were to come up with a recommendation report to bring to the next stage, which is the government to government negotiations the province and the Haida are in now. The process was to be completed in 18 months, but was first stalled by Islands Spirit Rising in 2004.
Minister Bell doesn’t expect consensus will be achieved by the end of this year (2006), as was hoped in earlier in the summer.
He says from a provincial perspective, the Haida Gwaii plan is seen as on of the most important land use plans to conclude, but “it is no secret it has been a challenge.”
The views of the Council of the Haida Nation and the province are quite diverse, he says.
He says a decision will have to be made about where to take this discussion and this is something he will be looking at over the fall.
“I don’t want to rush into a place where I’m unilaterally imposing a Land Use Plan,” he says. But ultimately the province is responsible for the final decision.
“I may be convinced differently,” he said.
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