B.C.’s minister of forests, lands and natural resource operations said he looks forward to championing rural B.C.
Last month during the Union of B.C. Municipalities Conference in Vancouver, Premier Christy Clark added rural development to Minister Steve Thomson’s portfolio.
“She’s chosen our ministry to help lead that by adding it to our portfolio,” Thomson told the Tribune Advisor. “With the current structure we have in our ministry, we are in and around so many communities across the province and understand the importance of resource development to those local economies.”
He also said his background in agriculture is a good fit.
Initially the ministry will refine the role of rural development so that Cariboo-Chilcotin MLA Donna Barnett, as parliamentary secretary for rural development, can continue her work around rural issues.
“We’ll be meeting with local governments and beetle action coalitions to look at all the work they’ve done with the Rural B.C. project,” Thomson said. “The work they’ve done on creating successful regional development.”
The plan is to build on the successes they have already achieved, he added.
When asked about the Annual Allowable Cut for the region, Thomson said the inventories for the region are still being done.
“I think that’s also one of the reasons why our ministry is a key focus in rural development because we will be working with industry and local governments as the industry continues to address the issues of the mid-term timber supply.”
Barnett said she thinks having a minister responsible for rural B.C. will only benefit the province.