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  NEWS RELEASE 

For Immediate Release

2007AL0034-000921

July 18, 2007

Ministry of Agriculture and Lands

Office of the Wet’suwet’en

 

MORICE PLAN ENSURES SUSTAINABLE RESOURCE MANAGEMENT

 


HOUSTON Land-use decisions for the Morice planning area will ensure long-term sustainable resource management and critical habitat protection for the area, Agriculture and Lands Minister Pat Bell announced today.

 

“The agreement is a result of our collaborative partnerships with First Nations, industry and local communities to ensure that land-use decisions are implemented in a sustainable way,” said Bell. “These decisions carefully balance the needs of the environment with the needs of the people who make their living in these areas.”

 

Since 1994, the Wet’suwet’en Chiefs sought and continue to seek reconciliation of the relationship between the Province and the Wet’suwet’en,” said Debbie Pierre of the Office of the Wet’suwet’en. “By entering into the Morice Lands and Resource Management Plan government-to-government process, we understood that this process would not address all of the Wet’suwet’en interests on the land, however, this is a step in the right direction in working together. Through collaborative management, we believe that we can effectively protect critical ecosystems that maintain the quality of life of the Wet’suwet’en. Much more work needs to be done to obtain the recognition and benefits of our Aboriginal title interests in our traditional territories. We are committed to doing so for our children and children’s children and we trust the Province will assist us in this regard.”

 

The Morice LRMP is a result of the Province’s collaborative partnerships with the Office of the Wet'suwet'en, Lake Babine Nation, Nedo'ats Hereditary Chiefs and Yekooche First Nation, as well as industry and local communities.

 

Highlights of the agreement include:

 

 

            “This agreement will provide certainty for resource development while ensuring sustainability,” said Dennis MacKAY, MLA for Bulkley Valley-Stikine. “I am pleased to see that Aboriginal people, local government and industry groups have come together to make this plan a reality and promote economic development in the region.”

 

The Morice Land and Resource Management Plan (LRMP) area, located to the north of Tweedsmuir Park, is 1.5 million hectares in size, nearly three times the size of Prince Edward Island. Approximately 5,200 people reside in the plan area, with Houston as the main community. The decisions will provide certainty and sustainability guidelines for resource industry sectors and will preserve approximately 123,000 hectares of pristine natural habitat as protected areas, including the majestic Nadina Mountain overlooking Owen Lake.

 

“Local government is pleased to have been part of the development of a community-driven plan that has reached a balance of values such as forestry, mining, agriculture, tourism, wildlife and fish habitat, guide outfitting and recreation,” said Houston Mayor Sharon Smith. “The local government sector is also pleased to see the interests of First Nations included in such an important plan.”

 

A map outlining the zoning that has been approved through the Morice LRMP is available at www.mediaroom.gov.bc.ca/DisplayEventDetails.aspx?eventId=384.

 

The Morice LRMP process began in October 2002 and stakeholder consensus was reached in March 2004. Government-to-government agreements were reached in the fall of 2006.

 

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Media

contact:

Liz Bicknell

Communications Director

Ministry of Agriculture and Lands

250 356-2862

250 213-3072 (cell)

 

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