Permitting backlog continues for small, medium-sized businesses

Despite assurances they are streamlining natural resource permitting, the Liberal government

VICTORIA – 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

Demonstrators take to Clearwater roundabout

Yellow vest protesters say it’s time for a change

Police chase ends in two arrests

Suspects in stolen truck evade RCMP from Alberta border to Clearwater area

Clearwater Rotary’s Christmas Light Up

Event draws both young and old to take part in its yearly activities.

Independent business in Blue River pays it forward

Blue River Sledz donates a generous amount of clothes to the less fortunate in Kamloops

Clearwater Carpet Bowlers give to three local groups

Carpet Bowling is held at the Evergreen Acres Hall on Mondays and Thursdays at 1 p.m.

Trudeau to make it harder for future PM to reverse Senate reforms

Of the 105 current senators, 54 are now independents who have banded together in Independent Senators’ Group

Man dies after falling from B.C. bridge

Intoxicated man climbed railing, lost his balance and fell into the water below

B.C. animation team the ‘heart’ of new ‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’

The animators, largely based in Vancouver, ultimately came up with a creative technique that is drawing praise

Light at the end of the tunnel for UN climate talks

Meeting in Katowice was meant to finalize how countries report their emissions of greenhouses gases

Janet Jackson, Def Leppard, Nicks join Rock Hall of Fame

Radiohead, the Cure, Roxy Music and the Zombies will also be ushered in at the 34th induction ceremony

Supreme Court affirms privacy rights for Canadians who share a computer

Section 8 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms protects Canadians against unreasonable search and seizure

B.C. fire chief pleads with Ottawa for traumatic stress support

Campbell River fire chief Thomas Doherty presented concerns to federal government

‘I practically begged’: Kootenay woman with breast cancer denied referral to Calgary

Breast cancer patient left to fight disease alone after being denied referral to Calgary

21 detained before Paris protests as police deploy in force

There was a strong police presence outside the central Saint Lazare train station, where police in riot gear checked bags

Most Read