The provincial government is looking for public feedback as it updates a key document outlining resource management planning across 4 million hectares of land in the Fort St. John and North Peace area.
The Fort St. John Land and Resource Management Plan (LRMP) is being updated as part of reconciliation efforts with the Blueberry River First Nation and other Treaty 8 First Nations, the province said in an information bulletin released February 7.
"Since the completion of the Fort St. John Land and Resource Management Plan in 1997, Northeast B.C. has experienced significant growth," the bulletin states.
"The original plan identifies resource management zones and protected areas on provincial public land, setting out objectives and strategies for how the land and resources are managed."
The Fort St. John LRMP was started in 1993 to identify resource management zones and protected areas over 4.6 million hectares in the Fort St. John Timber Supply Area — about 1.5 times the size of Vancouver Island — and set strategies on how the lands were to be developed.
The LRMP was adopted in 1997, and established the Muskwa-Kechika Management Area.
The Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development is leading the update to the plan after the province signed an agreement with Blueberry River to address concerns about the cumulative effects of resource development in their territory.
An open house is scheduled Feb. 20 at the Pomeroy Hotel in Fort St. John from 5 to 9 p.m. Public comments are being accepted until March 6 at 4 p.m.
The province has hired Urban Systems to gather community input on what changes might be needed to the plan through surveys, interviews, meetings, and open houses. A report on that outreach will released to the public in spring 2019, when technical planning work will also begin.
"Once the scope of the Fort St. John Land and Resource Management Plan updates and amendments are understood, the technical planning work will begin," the bulletin states.
"Further engagement with First Nations, local governments, industry, stakeholders and the public will also be part of the technical planning. This portion of the land and resource management plan update process is expected to begin in spring 2019."
Updating the plan is expected to take up to two years, into spring 2021, the province says.
The LRMP covers a planning area bounded on the east by Alberta, on the south by the Peace River, to the west by the height of land of the Rocky Mountains and to the north by the Fort Nelson planning area at about the 58th parallel.
To learn more, and to register for the Feb. 20 open house, visit: https://engage.gov.bc.ca/fortstjohn-land-resource-management-plan-review.
Email Managing Editor Matt Preprost at firstname.lastname@example.org.