Navigating red tape has been simplified for North Okanagan loggers, farmers and miners.
A FrontCounter BC service has been opened at the Ministry of Forests office at 2501 14th Ave. in Vernon. It will provide permits and information for the natural resource sector.
“It’s a one-stop shop,” said Eric Foster, Vernon-Monashee MLA, adding that presently, someone seeking a permit may have to go to multiple offices.
“You may have to go to Kelowna or Kamloops or have to call or e-mail someone. This will make a huge difference for people in the resource industry.”
FrontCounter BC provides more than 130 natural resource-related permits and authorizations, and it represents 16 additional partner agencies.
“It provides a single point of entry for people dealing with the natural resource sector,” said Steve Thomson, forests, lands and natural resource operations minister.
“Water authorizations to irrigation licenses can be dealt with through a single process. It saves time and it saves effort for them.”
Vernon is the 19th FrontCounter office in the province.
“The North Okanagan has a wide range of resource activities. It is seen as a community that will benefit (from the new service),” said Thomson.
“It was a natural community to have on the list.”
Thomson says the process will lead to no staff cuts within the government, and there will be some additional clerical demands at the Vernon office.
“It’s about integrating the staff resources.”
Local officials expect the FrontCounter service could help stimulate the economy.
“Any time you can cut red tape is a plus for us in the North Okanagan,” said Vernon Mayor Wayne Lippert.