This series contains administrative and subject files relating to natural resource development and environmental policies. Includes correspondence, memoranda, reports, briefs, etc.
In 1971 the Environment and Land Use Act (S.B.C. 1971, c. 17) established the Environmental and Land Use Committee (ELUC) as a committee of the Executive Council of British Columbia. The committee was to establish and recommend programs to increase public awareness of the environment, to ensure that environmental concerns were fully considered in the administration of land and resource development, and to make recommendations and reports to the Executive Council. The committee was empowered to conduct public inquiries, appoint technical committees, and hire experts, specialists and researchers. Although little else was done in 1971-1972, the foundation for a full-fledged committee of cabinet had been laid. One of the first actions of the New Democratic government, elected in September 1972, was to utilize the ELUC structure as the basis of a powerful decision-making body. In May 1973, Robert Williams, Minister of Lands, Forests and Water Resources formed the ELUC Secretariat headed by a Director with Deputy Minister status and consisting of three sections with a staff of over one hundred. The ELUC Secretariat was the first time in B.C.'s political history that a permanent staff served a committee of cabinet. The Secretariat conducted studies on economic development, made recommendations to cabinet on the rationalization of resource and land use policies and provided information directly to Ministers. By 1975, ELUC had a membership of nine out of a cabinet of nineteen and was the decision making core of the government as far as resource development was concerned. The work of the Secretariat was thus central to all resource and land use policies. After the formation of William Bennett's Social Credit government in 1975, a formal cabinet committee structure was initiated in all areas of policy. The Environment and Land Use Committee was not part of this structure and the newly formed Economic Development Committee took on the chief role in coordinating resource, environment, and land use policy. Although ELUC was still nominally a cabinet committee, its importance was greatly reduced. The Minister of Environment became the chairman of ELUC and the scope of the Secretariat was diminished. The Secretariat's staff was entirely absorbed by the Ministry of Environment and there were budget cuts. Despite this reduced role, ELUC and its Secretariat were still functioning as a vehicle for advice and recommendations for a coordinated resource development policy. For most of 1978, the members of ELUC were the Ministers of Environment, Agriculture, Economic Development, Forests, Health, Highways and Public Works, Mines and Petroleum Resources, and Recreation and Conservation. The role of the Secretariat was to conduct integrated resource development planning, policy and procedure studies, to implement impact assessments of major resource developments, and to advise on Agriculture Land Reserve matters.
British Columbia. Environment and Land Use Committee. Secretariat