Kootenay - Boundary Regional Land Use Plan
The Kootenay/Boundary region in southeastern British Columbia has an extensive history of land and resources development and conservation and associated planning activity. Building on this past, and in response to escalating land use conflicts, the provincial government directed in 1992 that a strategic land use plan -- for the whole region -- be prepared to identify a comprehensive and integrated vision for regional land and resource use. A regional Land and Resource Management Planning process was conducted in the Kootenays between January 1993 and June 1997.
The regional planning process began in January 1993 when the British Columbia Commission on Resources and Environment (CORE) convened shared decision-making planning processes in the East Kootenay and the West Kootenay-Boundary areas. Planning Tables, comprised of representatives of key interests, worked collaboratively with government representatives until August 1994 to develop recommendations to the Commission on general land allocation, resource management practices and socio-economic transition measures. On the basis of those efforts, CORE submitted East Kootenay and West Kootenay-Boundary land use plan recommendations to the government in October 1994.
Following receipt of CORE’s recommendations, the provincial government consulted directly with communities and interested parties in the region, and subsequently released the government’s East Kootenay Land Use Plan and West Kootenay-Boundary Land Use Plan in March 1995. These announcements reflected significant government land allocation decisions -- notably decisions on designation of major new protected areas, special resource management zones, integrated resource management zones and preliminary enhanced resource management zones. The announcements also committed the government to a wide range of regional socio-economic initiatives, including measures to improve and match worker skills with new job opportunities, invest in improved productivity and rehabilitation of forest lands, grazing lands and watersheds, secure more employment in the value-added sector, invest in regional and community infrastructure, and to stimulate investment and employment in the touri sm and small business sectors.
The government’s 1995 land use decisions also committed provincial agencies to further processes to refine the boundaries of the timber enhanced resource development zone, develop geographically-specific resource management objectives across the region, and provide the West Kootenay community of Revelstoke with the opportunity to advise on specific resource management guidance for the Revelstoke Forest District. Accordingly, from August 1995 to June 1997, work was undertaken to finalize those aspects, enabling development of the Kootenay Boundary Land Use Plan Implementation Strategy. The work of the Minister’s Advisory Committee in Revelstoke was completed in 1999 and a report was approved in 2001. The Implementation Strategy was approved and adapted at the Cabinet level and represented the corporate policy of government.
Following the adoption of the Implementation Strategy in 1997, a number of the objectives of the strategy were reviewed giving consideration to which areas might require implementation of legal objectives. In January 2001, government approved a higher level plan order for the Kootenay-Boundary Land Use Plan area. The order established 10 objectives involving requirements for biodiversity, Caribou, Green-up, enhanced resource management zones, protection for streams within domestic watersheds and scenic areas. The 2001 order was reviewed based on concerns that had been raised by local communities and forest licensees. A revised Kootenay-Boundary Higher Level Plan reflecting a new balance of social, economic and environmental values was approved by government in October 2002. Since 2002 there have been 9 variances to the plan. These variances have dealt with improving caribou management, addressing issues associated with mountain pine beetle infestations and addressing economic concerns.