Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations
Land Tenures Branch
Clean Energy Producers Qs and As
1. Can the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations (FLNRO) amend the land size of waterpower application areas where additional areas have been requested by the proponent?
Applications are not amended in the adjudication phase prior to tenure issuance. During the adjudication phase there are a number of steps which involve other agencies and groups and every change to an application during the process requires a complete repeat of the process causing confusion and increased wait times for proponents next in line. If a proponent wishes to amend their application in a way that requires additional administrative steps an additional application and accompanying fee is required.
2. Can FLNRO amend the size of a waterpower tenure (ie. existing licenses of occupation) where additional areas have been requested to be added to the tenure.
Only minor changes can be made to a tenure without requiring a new application. Minor changes are outlined in the Pricing Policy section 4.3.2 as per the Land Act Fees Regulation Table 2, Section 5. Changes related to insurance, security and bonds, legal description, minor extensions to the term of the disposition to meet survey requirements are considered to be minor and can be processed as “Minor” amendments.
Any other requests for changes to a tenure, specifically changes that would require referrals or First Nations consultation, require a new application with the corresponding application fees.
Where the area under request was included in a project that was Environmental Assessment (EA) Office approved with concurrent permitting, the area can be added, subject to regional discretion, as the area is considered to be part of the original project area and therefore proponents are eligible to replace their tenure for an additional 50% of the project fee. This addition is allowed as the permitting agencies reviewed the complete project area and therefore the area under request would have been reviewed previously. This would be acceptable for a period of time at the discretion of the permitting agency (i.e. 6 months) beyond which the area would require full review and referral
For changes made to the tenure area where the project was not part of the EA process or was part of the EA process but didn’t include concurrent permitting, new areas are considered new projects and full application fees are required.
3. Can we transfer an application from one proponent to another?
Transfers are Assignments and the Province does not allow assignments at the application phase (as the tenure does not exist at that time) or of Investigative Use Permits (IUP). However, if an IPP proponent changes their name, the IUP can be abandoned coincident with the acceptance of a new IUP in the new name for the remaining time left in the original IUP. The proponent will be required to pay for a new IUP. This will only be done once.
4. Can we gate public roads for reasons other than public safety?
Generally, the Province does not allow the gating of public roads. Gates on public roads can lead to public safety issues by impeding access or by contributing to alternative points of access. Exceptions may be made at the request of permitting agencies who wish to restrict access to protect a resource value and who are making a permitting decision based upon protection of this value. In some circumstances, gates will be allowed for public safety reasons to prevent accidents or injury to third parties. See Land Operational Policy - Roadways.
5. Can land tenure rental rates be consolidated by land use (e.g. power line right of way versus powerhouse area) when projects are folded into a single tenure rather than paying higher fees at the zone rate for the single tenure?
Rents for the initial or general area licence tenures are priced in accordance with the Utilities Policy zone rate which takes into consideration the “partial taking” aspect of the total tenure area and thus is valued at 50% of land value. At such time that the subsequent or operational phase tenures are applied for, each tenure is charged a land rental rate according to the Pricing information outlined in the corresponding policy (e.g. Industrial Policy).
6. Can proponents avoid annual appraisals?
Annual appraisals do NOT occur. Depending upon the tenure type, zone values or land values (either appraisal or BCA) will apply. Where land values apply, BCA sets the valuation which automatically affects the land value and the yearly rental.
Further information is contained within the Pricing Policy.
7. Is it necessary to make a new application for the power line route (separate from the traditional single application for the whole project) in order to allow FLNRO to charge for status work?
Power lines over 25km in length are considered to be a separate tenure (as per the Land Act Fees Regulation, item 30) as they require significant status work time over and above the general area licence status and referral. Power lines and other linear features less than 25 km in length and within the area of the general licence of occupation can be captured within that application.
8. Do temporary uses under a general area permit cost the same as independent tenures of the same type?
Temporary permits cost the same regardless of the type of activity. The cost is driven by the temporary nature of the tenure and the degree of disturbance allowed under the temporary definition rather than the development type.
9. Can a proponent direct regulatory agencies to adjudicate their projects based on the proponent’s priority?
At the outset, if a proponent has multiple projects and is making application at the same time, the proponent can direct the order that the applications will be processed. Once an application has been accepted it will be processed in a first in, first served manner.
10. Does a proponent pay one fee or the individual replacement fees for replacement of a general area licence?
The proponent pays the replacement fee under each of the individual programs. Both the Waterpower and Wind Power policies have been amended to clarify tenure conversion fees, Waterpower Policy Section 8.3 and Windpower Policy Section 9.3.
11. Does a proponent have to submit a separate application for a transmission line greater than 25km?
Yes, the proponent has to submit a separate application for a transmission line greater than 25km. See question #7 above.
12. How does the proponent maintain confidentially of its data when required by FLNRO to determine due diligence?
To maintain a tenure, FLNRO must be provided with information to determine diligent use. This information may take several forms and may in some cases be information that is provided in a confidential manner but does not become the property of the Province. Each program and tenure type have different requirements and concerns over confidentially of business information should be discussed by the proponent in conjunction with FLNR). Upon receipt of proponent data the Province is bound by the provisions contained within the Freedom of Information and the Protection of Privacy Act.
94% of the land in British Columbia is Provincial Crown Land
5% is privately owned
1% is Federal Crown land