The Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services released its report today on the 2011 Budget consultations. The report contains 59 recommendations for the next provincial budget, based on 1,300 submissions received from the public.
There were a number of recommendations made regarding the environment and resource industries. The committee recommends that the province increase funding for conservation, wildlife habitat and species protection, and resource management enforcement. It further recommends that the government work with the feds to adopt a single, comprehensive and effective environmental assessment program to avoid duplication and unnecessary delay.
The committee also recommends that funds are committed to the Ministry of Agriculture to deliver a permanent predator control program. It also wishes for the government to budget adequate resources to maximize the benfits of federal-provincial porgrams, such as AgriStability and AgriRecovery. It wants to remove regulatory barriers that impede the development of artisan distilling in the province.
The committee recommends that the province should work with local governments to establish permananent locations for famers’ markets. It also wants the government to ensure that there are adequate front-line resources to address minerals permitting and First Nations consultation requirements in a timely manner.
The committee wants the government to continue funding and consider expanding Forestry Innovation Investment Ltd. It also wishes for the province to extend funding for Geoscience B.C. beyond its current mandate.
The committee also recommends that the government continue the extension of broadband access to all rural and remote communities in the province and improve fibre-optic redudancy in cell phone dead zones.