New legislation would require anyone discovering sites or objects of potential heritage value in B.C. to report them to the government’s archeological division.
Doug Donaldson, forests, lands, natural resource operations and rural development minister, says the amendments to the Heritage Conservation Act would strengthen the protection of archeological sites and form part of the government’s commitment to implement the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
Donaldson says people wanting to develop land where there is little knowledge of its history may be required to complete an archeological study on the property.
He says the amended legislation, which are the first changes to the act in 20 years, would give the government enhanced powers to refuse, amend, suspend and cancel permits.
The ministry says there are more than 54,000 registered archeological sites in B.C. and the province’s archeology branch processes about 500 permits annually.
The Canadian Press