Snowmobile club frustrated by BCAL 

Tenure process needs to be more transparent

One of the five priorities identified in the B.C Assets and Lands Business plan for fiscal 2000-2001 was to "make our business approaches more responsive, transparent and accessible."

The plan will have run its course by March 31 this year but, judging by the frustration being expressed by public recreation user groups, the Crown corporation still has some ways to go in reaching this goal in the Sea to Sky corridor.

Public user groups, like the corridor snowmobile clubs, feel the public is still being left out of land-use decisions being made by BCAL concerning commercial recreation tenures. They are worried the public will ultimately be squeezed out of areas by commercial operations and some have asked that BCAL hold off making tenure decisions until public access can be secured through a broader planning process, like an LRMP.

"One of the extreme frustrations we have had is, things happen and we don’t get any representation," Powder Mountain Snowmobile Club’s Don Gamache told BCAL representatives at a press conference held in Whistler Monday, Feb. 5.

In addition to the press, the conference was attended by a group of about 30 including both tenured and untenured operators, consultants and representatives of public user groups.

Gamache said organized public groups like the Federation of Mountain clubs and snowmobile clubs under the umbrella of the B.C. Snowmobile Federation are comprised of enthusiasts who care deeply about their sports. "Without getting all these user groups together… I think you are missing a part of the process," Gamache told BCAL’s Charles Littledale and David Reilley and Peter Jones of the province’s Land Use Co-ordination Office.

"The public is getting a back seat and we are getting very tired of it."

Gamache said the user groups have been saying for years that the tenure process needs to be more transparent.

"We are perturbed enough that we are going to start paying a lot of attention to this. Gentlemen, I would ask you to pay heed to this and put some kind of public input into this process."

It was suggested BCAL hold off issuing commercial tenures until a land use strategy is in place that sets some areas aside for public use.

The province officially announced Jan. 26 that a Land Resource Management Plan process was underway for the Squamish Forest District but Littledale said that process will take some time. "We are not sure how long it is going to take and indications are that these (tenure) issues need to be dealt with now."

Littledale said, however, the tenures will be granted in such a way that they remain flexible and BCAL will be able to accommodate the requirements of a future LRMP.

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