On April 27 the Province of British Columbia and 18 coastal
First Nations announced the completion of marine plans for
four regions of BC's northern coast that will be of interest to
various industry players, including the renewable energy
The plans were collaboratively developed by the Province and the
First Nations through an initiative known as the Marine Planning
Partnership for the North Pacific Coast (MaPP), based on
extensive consultation with various stakeholders, including area
residents and members of the marine science and technical
The plans include comprehensive recommendations that attempt to
balance the preservation and enhancement of the marine ecosystem
within each region with the need to encourage sustainable economic
development for the benefit of the affected First Nations and other
residents. To facilitate planning and implementation, each region
has been divided into zones identified for special uses, protection
and general use.
The renewable energy sector is highlighted in all four plans.
Each plan identifies objectives and strategies to support the
development of marine-based renewable energy, including tidal,
current, wave, wind and thermal energy power. In three of the four
regions, renewable energy special management sub-zones have been
The plans also contain recommendations related to the issuance
of tenures by the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource
Operations (FLNRO) for use of Crown lands and resources,
the incorporation of relationship building between proponents
and First Nations as a component of due diligence in tenure
approval or renewal;
the development of measures designed to avoid, reduce or
mitigate adverse impacts on First Nation traditional uses and the
incorporation of such requirements in tenure instruments; and
the development of a handbook for proponents about best
practices and legal obligations regarding First Nations
consultation, including protocol agreement templates.
Although such recommendations are in reference to FLNRO
operations within the respective regions, it is likely that a
number of these measures will be reflected in general FLNRO
policies and practices going forward.
The federal government was not a participant in MaPP, so the
plans do not address matters under federal jurisdiction, including
port development and the transportation of oil and liquefied
Although the plans are not legally binding per se,
implementation agreements are currently being negotiated to guide
implementation in the coming years.
Russell v. Township of Georgian Bay provides a useful reminder of the fact that while municipal officials sometimes appear to hold all of the cards in disputes with home owners, that is not always the case.
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