Source: Muskwa-Kechika Management Area
Once upon a time, I worked for a Canadian bank. Shortly after I joined that august institution, the Chief Credit Officer, a man with a long history in the bank and in lending circulated a memo that roughly said .... when he began his career, it used to take 25 years for the bank to forget the lessons of the past and make the same mistakes all over again. In contrast, he suggested that at the time of the memo, it was only taking the bank 10 years to recycle all of the mistakes it had formerly made. He attributed the change to the price of progress.
I have often thought about those remarks in connection with the work I do today. poking around oil and gas companies in Calgary and energy regulators in western Canada, I would have to say that institutional memories have continued to shrink. So much so that I would suggest many organizations are working on a forget-fullness cycle of five years or even less as people change jobs, reorganize, restructure, etc. more or less continuously.
Bearing this in mind, over the past couple of months, triggered by some recent work on access management, I decided to track down and scan some of the reports, etc. that were developed as part of the Northeast B.C. Access Management Initiative. The Northeast B.C. Access Management Initiative was a multi-party process that was initiated in 1994 in an effort to understand the issues and find some solutions. It was also the first time I became involved in trying to develop land-use management processes to address access concerns.
Back in 1993 I was helping a Canadian gas pipeline company (Westcoast Energy Inc., now Spectra Energy) develop a series of projects in northeast B.C. Then, as now, the cumulative effects of access development and its subsequent uses were among the most significant concerns associated with oil and gas development among public land-use managers (primarily the B.C. Ministry of Environment) in the area. In the words of one environmental consultant I worked with at the time, "the creation of motorized access has the greatest impact of any activity on the type, pattern and amount of use of public lands and resources".Like any issue associated with cumulative effects, the best solutions were not likely to come out of any single infrastructure project then being developed. So, with the help of several people in the oil and gas industry and the financial support of my employer, I set out to bring everyone that could possibly have an interest in the issue to the table. Eventually, with the support of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers and the B.C. Government, we were able to have individuals working in oil and gas and forestry sat down with government staff, guide/outfitters, local landowners and others to try to understand the issues, some of the possible solutions and agree on a path forward. After less than two years, and having written a series of documents, the initiative was ultimately subsumed into the land use planning processes (Land and Resource Management Planning), then raging across the process.
Despite this early initiative, the pace of industrial development on western Canada's public lands and the explosion in the number of people looking to these same lands for recreation have ensured that concerns for access creation and management remain much as they were 16 years ago. And, needless to say, few remember either the initiative or the work that was developed during its short life.
So as my public service for the day, I have posted on my company website (Eos Consulting) the documents that I've tracked down and scanned thus far, including:
- A Compendium of Physical Access Control Measures for Roads and Other Rights-of-Way, prepared by Axys Environmental Consulting Ltd.(now part of Stantec), March 1995.
- A Review of the Coordinated Access Management Planning (CAMP) Process in British Columbia: Applications and Lessons Learned, prepared by Carmanah Research Ltd., February 1995.
- Agenda for the 1994 Initiative Workshop: Access Management as a Component of Planned Petroleum and Natural Gas Development, June 1994, prepared by Erlandson and Associates.
- 1995 Workshop Summary Report for the Access Management Initiative, June 1995, prepared by Ehrlandson and Associates.
[There are two further documents - very bulky - that I will post as soon as I can arrange to have them scanned.]
I doubt these materials are going to provide anyone with the solution to cumulative effects associated with access and access management, but they can offer a starting point for some of the initiatives that are following.