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B.C. prepares legislation to share decision-making power with Indigenous groups over public lands – The Globe and Mail

The B.C. government is preparing legislation for this spring to allow the province to share its decision-making powers over public lands with Indigenous groups.

The Land Act governs access and use of public land, which covers 94 per cent of the province, and there are roughly 40,000 active tenures for activities and infrastructure, such as forestry and transmission towers. The proposed amendments will allow for joint statutory authority over new projects that require Crown tenure.

The province has said little publicly about the changes it intends to introduce during the coming legislative session, and only sent out notices to stakeholders in early January.

Because unsettled land claims hang over most of the province, development on Crown land is frequently held up in litigation over Indigenous rights. Nathan Cullen, Minister of Water, Land and Resource Stewardship, said the amendments will provide an option to work jointly with First Nations on approvals for specific projects.

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