Former sustainable resource management deputy minister Jon O'Riordan has said the Campbell administration's creation of a natural resource operations ministry is "one hell of a gutsy move." But he stated it's not a reincarnation of his old ministry, which was setup and shut down during the administration's first term in government. In an exclusive interview with Public Eye, Mr. O'Riordan said the new ministry is instead more like Land and Water British Columbia Inc., which was responsible for the tenuring and marketing of Crown lands until it was closed in June 2005.
Mr. O'Riordan explained sustainable resource management focused on "land-use policy and data organization" and never did any "permitting and licensing." As such, Mr. O'Riordan said a better description for natural resource operations is Land and Water British Columbia "on steroids."
The reason: the new ministry "not only issues water and land permits but it also issues all the forest permits and mining permits and access to Crown land. The only thing that's left outside that is the pollution permits from environment."
Mr. O'Riodan went on to add the creation of natural resource operations isn't "window-dressing" but rather the culmination of ongoing attempt by government to "bring all of the resource agencies under one roof." Indeed, the former deputy minister called it "the biggest shift (in government) since 2001 by far."