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UBCM opposes provincial push to harmonize environmental reviews

The Union of British Columbia Municipalities is opposed to the push to harmonize provincial and federal environmental review processes, according to a vote at the UBCM convention in Whistler this morning.

Delegates voted down a resolution that had been recommended by the UBCM's resolutions committee to support harmonizing.

“It's a race to the bottom,” said Vancouver councilor Heather Deal. “The unintended consequences of this motion are huge.”

Others criticized the motion as “premature” and a “pig in a poke” since there is no detailed proposal for harmonizing the review processes.

The provincial government has proposed harmonization, with premier Gordon Campbell saying after the February 2010 throne speech that multiple processes were slowing down the approval of projects.

North Cowichan mayor Tom Walker said it had taken seven years to get a water project approved in his area.

“While timeliness is important, thoroughness is better,” said councilor Mike Ryan from Osoyoos. “We better keep our environment number one and not rush to harmonize.”

Andrew MacLeod is The Tyee’s Legislative Bureau Chief in Victoria. Reach him here.

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