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Dan Adamson, Co-ordinator for the Queen Charlotte Islands/Haida Gwaii, LRMP answers questions about this latest governmental planning process to hit the Islands.
What is an LRMP?
Dan Adamson - A Land and Resources Management Plan (LRMP) will provide strategic level direction for managing Crown land resources and identify ways to achieve community economic, environmental, and social objectives. LRMPs that have been completed around the province have identified new protected areas; special management zones where important environmental, recreational or cultural values are to be maintained; intensive development zones where resource development is concentrated; and hundreds of objectives and strategies outlining resource management and planning activities. LRMPs have also had a role in identifying where government policies need to be revised.
The LRMP is only one level of planning, and will guide more detailed planning. One way of looking at LRMPs is to think of them as describing "what" the community wants, but the details about "how" are assigned to more specific planning.
In the Fort St James Draft LRMP, there is an objective that states; "Manage to maintain the isolated fish populations above the falls on Brule Creek." The strategy for this objective reads, "Develop and implement management strategies to maintain fish habitat above Brule Creek falls." The community representatives sitting at the LRMP Table are telling government managers that the fisheries values in the area are of particular importance and they want them maintained. Once the LRMP is approved by the Ministers, government is obliged to ensure that this priority is followed through. So, more detailed planning will be done to find ways to meet that objective. In the Fort St James LRMP, an annual monitoring and review meeting is held to ensure that government follows through with its commitment.
People have different expectations about what issues or problems an LRMP can deal with. It is unrealistic to think that this process will solve all the land use issues on Haida Gwaii. But it will be a step towards a more integrative job of managing the resources, and getting direction for management priorities from the communities.
What is your job as LRMP Co-ordinator?
My job is to support the process so that it is open and fair. To make sure that peoples' concerns and interests are brought forward, that information is made available, and that there is good structure and organization with the process. I will also work with the table to meet the timelines and work within our budget allocations.
One of the most important components of this process is the negotiating that table members will be involved in. We have hired a professional mediator/facilitator, Stuart Gale. He and I will work as a team to manage the meetings and support the Table's work. I want people to know, that it is not my job to provide the content of the plan - that is the task of the Table members. But if someone has an issue with the process, I will work with that person and the Table to solve the problem.
What experience and background do you bring to this job?
I have experience in how government works (policy development, legislation, regulations, budgeting, protocols, etc.) through my 10 years of work with BC Parks. This will help me to get information, do budgeting for the process, or carry out various tasks that the Table requests of me. For the past four years I have been working with a number of LRMPs in the Prince George and Peace River areas, so I have a sense of how these processes work and how challenging they are. But I have also seen several LRMPs complete with full consensus of Table members, and that gives me encouragement that these processes can work. Although I do have some experience and skills I believe may be of use, I am on a steep learning curve as people here on Haida Gwaii educate me!
Which government agency runs the LRMP process, and what does the agency do?
I work for the Land Use Coordination Office (LUCO) which is overseeing strategic level land use planning for the province. There are currently about 17 LRMPs being prepared and 5 have been approved by the Ministers. LUCO coordinates the processes throughout the province by providing budgets, schedules, process policies, and guidance on issues.
I also work for the Prince Rupert Interagency Management Committee (IAMC) which is a group of senior managers from various ministries involved with natural resources. The IAMC coordinates government involvement in the process.
Who can take part in an LRMP and why should they?
People should get involved with the LRMP if they will be affected by its outcome or if they want to ensure that an interest or perspective is represented. If people want to be directly involved in negotiating the content of the plan, they should become a full Table member. This has, the greatest influence. Others may feel someone is already sitting at the Table representing their interest, so may elect to be an alternate member or an observer.
There are a variety of ways people can be involved. People and groups can also make presentations to the Table.
In general, interests that are represented at the Table are local and First Nations governments, resource development companies (forestry, mining, oil & gas), environmental, cultural and historical, trappers, fisheries, wilderness recreation, road accessible recreation, tourism, agriculture, and labour. This Table may find it has additional interests than those listed here.
The Ministers retain the job of approving the plans, but it is community members that discuss, negotiate, and decided what the content of the plan will be. Government staff will be part of the process to give information and advice and to support the work of the Table members.
The LRMP Table has not been formed yet and I can't predict what the membership will look like. Tables around the province have about 30-35 full-time members. Any more than that can be overwhelming. Once we start forming the table, as a group, we will have to sort out its membership and size - that will be our first job.
What is an LRMP supposed to do for people living here?
The LRMP will provide a mechanism for people to negotiate objectives and strategies for meeting their interests. The process will also be able to identify priorities for information and research needs and recommendations for policy revisions. The plan will provide some broad
direction about how Crown lands need to be managed and about setting priorities for government. The LRMP will provide an improved vision for where and in what manner resource development is carried out, where special values need to be protected, and where multiple values (e.g. recreation, visual quality, cultural values and critical habitat) need to be carefully managed for. Another related value of the LRMP process is that it becomes a focus for compiling much needed resource information that can be used after the LRMP.
How long does an LRMP process take?
It is supposed to take about 2 to 3 years. This may seem a long time, but the Table has a lot of work to do and I understand that we likely won't be able to meet between July and September. It will take quite a while to do a number of process tasks before we start the actual land use negotiations. These include developing the terms of reference and procedures, training and orientation, field trips, information presentations, work plan, etc.
How does the LRMP fit intogovernment planning?
Once the plan is approved and becomes a Higher Level Plan it becomes direction for other more detailed plans that follow. Government is looking to have an approved LRMP for every area of the province to provide an overall vision for land use planning.
How does an Local Resource Use Plan (LRUP) such as the Ministry of Forests process underway for the Tlell fit into an LRMP?
In other areas of the province the completed LRUP rolls into that portion of the LRMP. The Tlell LRUP is supposed to be finished well before the LRMP process. The LRUP is much more detailed in its management direction than an LRMP will be and so people wonder how the two can be meshed. There has been similar situations in the province where more detailed land use plans had already been completed. What those LRMP Tables did was to identify those plans and reference them in the process Terms of Reference for the LRMP. In those cases, the table members were satisfied with the completed plans and did not want to revisit them. So prior to the completion of the LRMP, the relevant strategic portions of those previously completed plans were adopted.
In the case of the LRMP here, we have to wait and see the outcome of the Tlell LRUP process. Its hard to speculate what may happen, but if there is an issue about melding the LRUP into the LRMP we will have to visit that at the LRMP Table and see how to deal with it. If the LRUP is successful and the participants are satisfied, it will certainly make things a lot easier to deal with.
What is the relationship of the LRMP to the Council of the Haida Nation?
I am continuing to meet with representatives of the Council of the Haida Nation. At this point, there is no decision made about whether or not they will participate. There are many things they are considering and it will take some time before a decision will be made. We must allow the time to work through this properly and it is wise to consider this fully before proceeding. I consider their involvement to be crucial to the process, but it is their decision to make and I will respect whatever decision they come to. I have not scheduled any meetings to form the table at this point until the CHN has had a chance to deal with this.
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