Former Lands & Forests Issues Manager
n the last issue of The Outfitter we announced the Minister of Natural Resources’ decision to delay the move to market-value rents for commercial outpost camp land use permits until 2010. When NOTO engaged the minister’s office late in 2008, we indicated that a delay was necessary to address the late notification and a number of specific implementation issues. Since the delay, in addition to meetings with Minister Cansfield and the Resource-Based Tourism Working Group, NOTO has been busy helping MNR draft a framework to address issues related to disposition of unwanted sites. This work will soon be vetted through the larger working group and we expect an approved procedure to be in place by the end of May.
NOTO believes that several land use permits may be surrendered to the crown considering the substantial fee increase and the challenging economic times the industry finds itself in. What we are attempting to develop with MNR is a procedure that allows operators to retain ownership of a site’s improvements while a sale is sought for the opportunity. Under this scenario, operators would have a fixed amount of time to find a buyer and would pay an administrative fee to retain the site and improvements. We also continue to explore a way to accommodate sites that are used for non-traditional business models and very short periods of time.
Fundamental to the procedure being developed is an advisory committee with industry and multi-ministerial representation to provide advice to MNR field offices on the proper disposition and management of surrendered sites. We are looking for an approach that is transparent, can be applied in a consistent manner, and safeguards surrendered sites for future industry disposition or finds a more suitable use for these sites. And for the sites that are surrendered to the crown, NOTO wishes to play a role in helping advertise these opportunities to the industry.
In February NOTO also met with the Minister of Northern Development & Mines, Michael Gravelle, to discuss a funding program to help operators manage the land survey costs associated with moving land use permits to 30-year long term leases. We recently followed up with staff in the minster’s office, and they are still investigating the possibility of supporting our request.
As always do not hesitate to contact Doug or I with your thoughts or concerns regarding the move to market-value rents.
This article was taken from page 10 of NOTO's "The Outfitter" publication, Spring 2009 Issue