A new provincial service will be available in Terrace later this year with the opening of a FrontCounter BC office.
It’s a move by the provincial government to make things easier for companies and individuals requiring permits and licences tied to mining and other natural resource activities.
Instead of having to visit or contact different ministries or agencies dealing with mining, forestry, water usage and land developments and tenure, the idea is to have all of that handled by one office.
“It will be more efficient and faster for sure,” said provincial official Eamon O’Donoghue in regards to speeding up the permit process for businesses.
He also said government resources will not be wasted on repeat evaluations of the same project.
“Really what it is, is a single window entry into the natural resource centre,” O’Donoghue said.
O’Donoghue is based in Smithers and had been working for the provincial Integrated Land Management Bureau but is now the regional executive director for the newly-created Ministry of Natural Resources.
This ministry was formed by gathering together the planning and permit functions of several ministries.
The FrontCounter service will be set up within the forest service offices at its Keith Ave.building.
Forest service employees will be trained to perform FrontCounter functions.
O’Donoghue said Terrace was chosen for a FrontCounter location because of its size, focus on natural resources, community support and interest from local governments.
“Terrace has been on the list for quite a while,” O’Donoghue said.
The closest FrontCounter operation now is based in Smithers, primarily because that’s where the province has a number of offices.
Benefits for the people of Terrace will be the ability to speak directly to a person while going though permit applications, said O’Donoghue.
People can make use of online services as well, he added.
“As much as possible we are trying to get to one decision-maker,” said O’Donoghue.
“We need to make a shift in resources to do the best we can with what we’ve got,” O’Donoghue said, adding this will improve efficiency all around.
“It definitely looks like it is going in the right direction,” said mayor Dave Pernarowski in regards to the project.
FrontCounter was first created n 2005.