BC Parks published a draft of a new engagement policy for park use permits. This policy has the purpose to provide direction on how the public will be informed of permits that have been distributed within recreation areas, ecological reserves, conservancies, protected areas and provincial parks. It also defines when the public will be consulted before a decision on a permit application is made.
This policy applies only to park use permits and resource use permits within the areas listed above and ecological reserve permits within ecological reserves. It does not address permits regarding campgrounds.
The Policy gives a few definitions regarding words they use in their document. It includes terms like active permit, permit, application, park and engagement.
Principles and Authorities
BC Parks is committed to share information on active permits on its webpage and to contact the public when consultations will be undertaken. The minister is provided the authority to issue park use permits and resource use permits but is also required to let the public review and comment on the application before issuing any permits. For the public consultation all information must be provided by the minister.
The Ecological Reserve Act manages the ecological reserve permits. However, this policy will be applied to these permits too to keep consistency and transparency in the parks system of BC.
To create transparency and awareness of permitted activities all active permits are published online.
These postings will include the date the permit was issued, the location, the length of the term, a summary of activities the permit authorizes and the name or company that holds the permit. The public has to be informed about the application before a permit for research activities, changes to existing land use activities or major film activities is issued. The information should stay online for ten days before it is removed again.
If the permit application is for investigative use, development of an accommodation facility or the application has information gaps the public will be consulted. BC Parks may choose to consult the public if a Level 2 or 3 Impact Assessment is warranted. Such an assessment will be done if there may be recreational, ecological or cultural impacts associated with the proposed activity. If the application is available for comments the public should be informed in different ways. As usual it will be put up on the webpage but select newspapers or open houses will be used as an information sharing method. To use other methods is determined by a variety of factors namely the location of activity and standard internet access, potential impact or public interest in the proposed activity. After the initial assessment the notification to comment on a permit application will occur. Comments are only one factor used by BC Parks to determine if the application will be accepted. The public will be consulted if already existing public use or adjacent landowners might be impacted or if important cultural or natural values are identified.
The new policy does not change the already existing BC Parks practice of consulting permit applications with permit holders if there is a potential conflict with already existing operations.
To contribute to the public input opportunity, please follow this link.
- Source BC Parks. Park Use Permits. Available at : https://bcparks.ca/permits/consultation/docs/draft-public-notification-and-engagement-policy.pdf?v=1461553355790 [Accessed 03/2021].