A reshuffling of the Natural Resource Operations ministry has meant the Northwest gets a high ranking member to oversee the region.
“Normally assistant deputy ministers have traditionally been located in Victoria,” said ADM for the North Central/West region Kevin Kriese.
“There have been a couple of examples where other ministries have posted assistant deputy minister positions out-of-Victoria … But that’s been sort of … rare.”
But aside from his physical location in Smithers, the reorganization that was announced for the ministry last October means that his scope doesn’t cover specific resources (mining, forestry, etc.) but rather a geographic area.
“It’s a regionally-focused assistant deputy minister position,” he said, noting his region covers from the Rockies Prince Rupert and from Kitimat to the Yukon border.
Being regionally-focused means a lot of redundancies in the old organization have been reduced or eliminated.
“The idea now is all of our teams, including the executive structure, is focused on an area and we understand all the resources issues and all the options in that area,” he said.
“There were places where we were not fully informed of everything that was going on and, with the barriers between the ministries, we weren’t able to make as good decisions as we think we need to.”
The amount of authorizations needed to get a project to go through has also been streamlined.
“If you wanted to develop a small independent power project, you would have to get … sometimes 30 different provincial authorizations from three, four, maybe five different ministries, all using different processes.”
Kriese has lived in Smithers for 15 years and has worked steadily in the community, in one capacity or another.