The West Coast Environmental Law Association began in 1974. Together with the West Coast Environmental Law Research Foundation, it provides legal services, research and education to promote protection of the environment and public participation in environmental decision-making.
One of the organizations' five program areas is law reform ¾ promoting improvements to environmental laws, regulations and policies. In this capacity we provided comments dated June 12, 1992, to Dr. Richard Schwindt, Commissioner, B.C. Resources Compensation Commission. Dr. Schwindt's report [(1) -- 1. Schwindt, Richard. Report of the Commission of Inquiry Into Compensation for the Taking of Resources Interests (Vancouver: the Commission, 1992).] was released in November 1992, with a request for comments to be sent to Mr. Paul Jarman, Senior Solicitor, Ministry of the Attorney General.
On December 14, 1992, we wrote to the Honourable Colin Gabelmann, Attorney General for British Columbia, stating that we were working on a response to the Schwindt report. We asked him to release publicly the basic outline of the government's intentions for legislation in this area prior to the introduction of legislation in the Legislature. We noted that this area is both highly complex legally and highly important strategically, and that it warrants a reasonable opportunity for public consultation.
In January 1993 we were contacted by Mr. Tanner Elton who said that he will be coordinating the government's follow-up to the Schwindt report. He indicated that the government did not intend to rush into legislation and that there would be additional opportunities for consultation in a format to be developed. We welcomed that approach, given our concern that this subject receive careful attention by all concerned.
What follows are our comments on the Schwindt report. [(2) -- 2. The author expresses appreciation to Mr. Jaime Paez for providing a thorough analysis of many of the legal issues involved.]