Resource Road Legislation (Bill 30)
In April 2008, the provincial government introduced Bill 30, the Resource Road Act, which would create a new Resource Road Authority, which would manage all aspects of resource road capital, maintenance and user conditions.
The proposed legislation created a new Resource Road (RR) Authority, which would manage all aspects of resource road capital, maintenance and user conditions. For each resource road, the RR Authority would identify a ‘designated maintainer’ who would be responsible for maintaining the roads and levying fees against other industrial users. The legislation was intended to simplify and standardize permitting of roads across industries and improve inter‐industry road use.
Clarity of road permitting, the province believed, would reduce friction among industry groups over road use. The government hoped that, by combining the road provisions of five different legislations into one Act, they could manage road tenures, use and maintenance more effectively.
Section 11.1 of the Mineral Tenure Act guaranteeing access to mineral tenures, would be repealed and in its place, access will be provided by Road Use Permits issued by a new Resource Roads. In addition, Section 10 of the Mines Right of Way Act would be effectively repealed, as the definition of ‘road’ in the Mines Right of Way Act does not include resource roads.
The legislation received first reading on April 16, 2008 without prior notice to AME BC or MABC. On May 5, following complaints from a broad range of resource road users, the Bill was deferred to the next sitting of the legislature. The Bill was not debated in the following legislature sitting, and AME BC requested the opportunity to work with the government before further resource road legislation is reintroduced.
Government Resource Road Legislation Website
BC Government Resource Roads FAQs
Other useful links:
Vancouver Island Exploration Group - Resource Roads Website - www.resourceroadsbc.com
What AME BC said about Bill 30
1. Repeal of guaranteed access to mineral tenures
2. Deactivation of resource roads
3. The Resource Road Authority: composition and terms of reference
4. No definition of ‘non-industrial’ users or guidelines regarding potential fees that will impact upon exploration appear in the Bill
Arguments against Bill 30:
• The legislation is extremely complicated and does not provide clarity in definition of key terms that could negatively impact on the mineral exploration community. For example, the definition of ‘road’ in the Mines Right of Way Act does not apply to ‘resource roads’, which appears to leave a gaping hole.
• The legislation does not clarify the difference between regulatory treatment of existing resource roads, and new resource roads under the Act.
• The legislation captures ‘industrial’ users, but the treatment of mineral exploration users is not defined in the legislation, and there are no references to rights of access to mineral tenures in Bill 30. We have no information to suggest that the commercial access of resource roads by prospectors to their mineral tenures will be captured in regulations yet to be developed, and in any event, definition of rights by regulation is substantially less certain than by legislation. We want clearer protection of these rights.
• Section 16(4) of the Resource Road Act provides the Authority with the power to withhold resource road permits based on regulations. Again, we want clearer protection of access to mineral tenures.
• “Public access” to resource roads is not defined in the Act.
• In a recent case, we understand there is a conflict resulting from a demand by Interfor that Nahminto Resources Ltd. post an irrevocable letter of credit for $175,000 to access to its road. Apparently, Interfor acted upon instruction from the Ministry of Forests, who provided a template based on their interpretation of how Bill 30 would be implemented. For our members, $175,000 may as well be $10 million.
• There is concern that ‘designated maintainers’ with maintenance obligations will deactivate roads, likely removing bridges and culverts, eliminating access by prospectors to their mineral tenure areas. Recent examples of exactly this practice leave our members fearful that, without an industrial entity willing to take ‘designated maintainer’ obligations, roads will simply be deactivated.