Permitting backlog continues for small, medium-sized businesses

The Liberal government has still not addressed the significant backlog of outstanding natural resource permit applications.

  • Oct. 4, 2012 7:00 p.m.

Despite assurances they are streamlining natural resource permitting, the Liberal government has still not addressed the significant backlog of outstanding permits, say the New Democrats.

Recently, the executive director of the Fort Nelson and District Chamber of Commerce told the select standing committee on finance and government services that while some larger companies are getting responses to their permit requests within 60 days, many are still taking up to a year to be cleared.

“We’re hearing from small business leaders that the government simply hasn’t put the resources in place to ensure that their permit applications pass through the appropriate checks in a timely fashion,” says New Democrat MLA Doug Donaldson.

“A year is an awfully long time for a small business to wait,” said Donaldson. “The inability to get an answer from government is undoubtedly killing jobs and harming communities.”

Last fall, the opposition revealed that there was a backlog of more than 7,000 permitting applications outstanding with the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations. In response, the government hired approximately 100 temporary employees to help clear the backlog.

But Bev Vandersteen, the Fort Nelson chamber’s executive director, said her members are still having trouble getting through the government system.

 

“Often, when an application is filed, they don’t even hear if it’s been received for many months, and we’re looking at an average of about a year to achieve an answer – yea or nay – on an application,” Vandersteen told the committee Sept. 25. “In some cases it has taken up to four years. Clearly, this is unacceptable.”

 

Donaldson said the Band-Aid the Liberals put in place has clearly not fully solved the problem. He said small business deserves some assurance that there will be a comprehensive solution to ensure that permit applications are handled in a timely manner.

 

“We’re aware that the premier believes it’s okay to say anything to get elected, but tourism, hunting and fishing guides and others are looking for something more substantive,” said Donaldson. “The Liberals caused this permitting backlog and they have an obligation to fully clear it up.”

 

Just Posted

Gryphons girls graduate as coach moves on

Bulkley Valley SD54 van der Mark on his time as coach and education administrator.

Bulkley Valley members of The North Matter rally in Houston

Pro-pipeline and resource development group driving convoy Saturday, eyes expansion across the North

Open letter from Coast Mountains School District 82 Board of Education

Board commitment to ongoing collaboration to close outcome gaps with First Nations students.

Northwest mobile unit to help those at heart of mental health, addiction crisis

Province, Northern Health unveils new unit in Terrace to bridge gaps in services

RCMP seek Smithers gas station robbery suspect

Smithers RCMP are asking the public for any information on a robbery suspect.

Protective human chain forms around Victoria mosque for Friday prayer

Islanders stand arm-in-arm to show support in aftermath of New Zealand shootings

‘Families torn apart:’ Truck driver in fatal Broncos crash gets 8-year sentence

Judge Inez Cardinal told court in Melfort, Sask., that Sidhu’s remorse and guilty plea were mitigating factors

Boy who went missing from park remains largest probe in Victoria police history

The four-year old Victoria boy went missing without a trace on March 24, 1991

WestJet sticking with Boeing 737 Max once planes certified to fly

WestJet had expected to add two more of the planes this year to increase its fleet to 13

B.C. driver caught going 207 km/h on motorcycle along Okanagan Highway

A motorcyclist was caught by Kelowna RCMP going 207 km/h on Highway 97C

Protective human chain forms around B.C. mosque for Friday prayer

Vancouver Islanders stand arm-in-arm to show support in aftermath of New Zealand shootings

Smithers spring cleaning

Ryder, 6, and Kalia, 5, Vandergaag help clean up Smithers.

B.C. fire department offers tips to keep your home safe during wildfire season

With wildfire season getting closer, the Penticton Fire Dept. offer tips to keep your home safe

Fierce house cat spotted as ‘aggressor’ in face off with coyote in B.C. backyard

North Vancouver resident Norm Lee captures orange cat versus coyote in backyard showdown

Most Read