BY RICHARD GILBERT - The B.C. government has established a roundtable of representatives from communities, industry, labour, First Nations and the environmental sector to discuss ways to balance economic development with environmental protection.
“I am flattered to be part of this roundtable on the environment and the economy,” said Philip Hochstein, president of the Independent Contractors and Businesses Association.
“I am on the table as a small business representative and, with the economy, there is a lot of construction activity. I am honoured to be able to participate.”
Environment Minister Mary Polak announced on March 28 that a roundtable has been established to provide an opportunity for stakeholder groups to work with the British Columbia government on policy priorities.
Finding the right balance between economic development and the environment is growing in importance,” said Hochstein.”
This group is going to help find that balance.”
The roundtable, chaired by Peace River South MLA Mike Bernier, will aim to strike a balance between sustainable resource development and the protection of human health and the environment.
“We had a meeting last week where all the members of the table met,” said Hochstein. “It is an interesting group, which is very eclectic.
The roundtable includes the following member groups: Organizing for Change; B.C. Wildlife Federation; Nature Conservancy of Canada; World Wildlife Fund Canada; Business Council of British Columbia; Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers; Mining Association of B.C.; B.C. Agriculture Council; Council of Forest Industries; Clean Energy B.C.; Union of B.C. Municipalities; United Steelworkers; Independent Contractors and Businesses Association; and the B.C. Federation of Labour.
When Polak became the new Minister of the Environment in June 2013, she received a mandate letter from Premier Christy Clark, which included the creation of the roundtable.
“Our government believes strong economic growth is compatible with environmental sustainability, which is why the Premier wanted me to bring a variety of voices to the table,” said Polak.
“I’m confident that the Roundtable on the Environment and the Economy will help our government put in place the best policies to guide sustainable resource development in B.C.”