Whereas unlike all the Atlantic provinces, BC has no comprehensive coastal and marine strategy, a BCCoastal Protection Strategy will clearly articulate provincial jurisdiction and enable the Province to better engage with other governments and communities; And whereas no marine counterpart to the BCLandAct exists, and piecemeal legislation and policy govern numerous coastal marine activities; And whereas a BC Coastal Protection Strategy will provide a vision and objectives to guide actions in the increasingly crowded coastal zone and highlight the importance the government places on these vital areas such as sensitive marine ecosystems, and vulnerable species, as well as their importance to protecting our coastal communities and economies: Therefore be it resolved that UBCM request the BC government to develop and enact a Coastal Protection Strategy and law to leverage and coordinate the work of provincial ministries, FirstNations, local communities, and stakeholder groups to preserve coastal and ocean health, halt coastal habitat loss, accelerate the completion of a network of marine protected areas to benefit fisheries, biodiversity and the economy, set marine environmental quality objectives from upland activities, and help communities adopt ecosystembased approaches to manage risks from flooding due to extreme weather events, sea level rise, climate change, and ocean acidification.
Ministry of Forest, Lands, Natural Resource Operations, and Rural Development The Province takes its role as steward of our marine environment seriously and has worked for decades to improve the management of our foreshore and submerged lands over which we have jurisdiction. For example, under the Marine Planning Partnership, the Province and our First Nations partners recently completed the first five-year implementation phase of four marine spatial plans on the North Coast of the Province. The Marine Planning Partnership plans inform resource management decisions by helping ensure compatibility with local and regional preferences for economic development and diversification and broader stewardship and conservation. Where the Provinces interests in protecting our tidal waters fall under federal jurisdiction we have partnered with the Federal government on several ongoing initiatives. Currently, and in partnership with Indigenous groups, the parties are working on a Marine Protected Area Network on the north coast to establish an ecologically comprehensive resilient and representative network that protects the biological diversity and health of the marine environment for present and future generations. Other federal initiatives in which the province plays a key supporting role is the Southern Resident Killer Whale Task Force, the Cumulative Effects of Marine Shipping Initiative, the Anchorages Initiative, among others. The Province also has several initiatives to help support the economic resilience and sustainability of coastal communities and will continue to do this. As noted in some ministry mandate letters, the Minister of State for Lands and Natural Resource Operations, in partnership with First Nations, and with support from the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy, and the Ministry of Agriculture Food and Fisheries, will lead work to develop a Coastal Marine Strategy that will seek to better protect coastal habitat while growing coastal economies. Initial work on the scope of the Coastal Marine Strategy is underway internally and future engagement on a draft strategy will enable local and regional values to be reflected.