Investigative Process - Overview

Archaeological impact assessment and review in British Columbia applies mainly to development projects that are subject to British Columbia's environmental impact assessment and review processes. However, the same principles can also apply, with minor modification, to other developments.

A particularly important characteristic of the process used in British Columbia is its flexibility. It is not intended as a "cookbook" approach to all development projects. Although certain categories of information are needed for decision making, each archaeological study must be tailored to meet specific project characteristics and needs.

Representatives of the Archaeology Branch are available to meet with project proponents to provide project-specific clarification and interpretation of the process. Depending on the project, flexibility can be expected in the staging of impact assessment and management studies, the level of detail at which these studies are undertaken, and the reporting requirements.

The role of the branch is not to prohibit or impede land use and development, but rather to assist the development industry, the province, regional authorities, and municipalities in making decisions leading to rational land use and development.

When the benefits of a project outweigh the benefits of archaeological preservation, the branch will work with the proponent to determine how the project can go ahead with minimal archaeological resource loss. Where the loss of significant archaeological values cannot be avoided, the branch ensures that appropriate compensatory measures are implemented.

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