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Bill 14 (4 April 2007)

The Environmental Management and Protection Amendment Act, 2006

Second Reading
From Economy Committee Hansard - 4 April 2007

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Mr. Hart: — Thank you, Mr. Chair. Minister, you said in your second reading comments that this Bill will eliminate the need for operators of waterworks and sewage works to, it will no longer require them for multiple registrations and so on. You went on to mention, you know, there’s a permit to construct. Now your department would be issuing these permits to construct or would it be through municipal relations or Government Relations? Could you just explain that process a bit?

Hon. Mr. Nilson: — Yes, I’ll explain it. Basically this is an area of responsibility for the Department of the Environment. And it relates to these waterworks and sewage systems, and that the permits involved are ones that are done by officials in our department. Mr. Ferris will answer any more specific questions if you have them.

Mr. Hart: — So then I understand the current situation until this Bill takes effect is that operators of these systems would then, once they got a permit, they would then have to go and register those permits with against land titles, with Information Services Corporation, each time they had a new permit, whether it’s a permit to construct or to operate and those sorts of things. And I know some of these, particularly waterworks projects where we perhaps have a pipeline going to a number of communities or residences, I would imagine that there was quite a number of registrations that would need to take place each time a new permit was issued. Have I described the current situation fairly closely or correctly?

Mr. Ferris: — Yes, that’s correct. In the case of pipelines, there could be multiple permits, one for every piece of property it crossed. One point of note: under the existing scheme though, the department had to do that interest registration based on information provided by the project proponent as soon as the permit to issue to construct or operate was issued.

Mr. Hart: — What’s the cost of registering these permits? I mean that cost isn’t going to change, I understand, but the operators will now have to register fewer or make fewer registrations. But what is the cost on a per parcel of land basis? Because the minister did mention that Information Services Corporation could perhaps see a loss of revenue of $10,000, and I was just wondering how you arrived at that estimate of loss of revenue.

Mr. Ferris: — Right. Well presently it costs between 50 and $60 to register an easement or a notice on the title and that’s because you can register up to 10 at one time in one submission. So if you send in 10, it costs less.

And the number, the estimate is a reduction because with the proposed amendments what we plan to do — if you pass that — is that there would no longer be an interest registration for the construction or the approval for these, although certainly the project proponent could certainly do that on their own if they wished.

Mr. Hart: — Okay. So who raised these issues with the department to, you know, with the final result of this Bill, I mean, and how long have these issues been raised with your department prior to us seeing this Bill in this House?

Hon. Mr. Nilson: — Well I think basically the operators of the waterworks and sewage works have raised this and saying, well we have to do this again and again. We have to do it on all these different ways. Is there another way to do this? And at the same time it also relates, you know, to the ISC [Information Services Corporation of Saskatchewan] and the efficiency with their process that people were able to, I think, see more clearly all these different layers of costs. And the real question is: what is the benefit of each of these notices? Some of them didn’t seem to add much benefit in the whole process. And those are the kinds of things that we should change and actually get the kinds of information in the land titles system and for the operators that benefits the public.

Mr. Hart: — Would it be a fair assumption to make that registration of these permits only became a real issue once when the whole land titles transformation took place and we went to the creation of the Information Services Corporation? I mean, we’ve discussed this in the past in this House where there’s been, we’ve seen increased costs in registering a transfer of land and that sort of thing. So would it be fair to assume that this is when this became an issue at that time?

Hon. Mr. Nilson: — Well I think the answer is, in a way, yes. Because what happened is how interests were described that required registration in the new legislation caught all kinds of notices that were provided. And in this particular case, it ended up that there might be three notices of the same project that would be caught by the land titles legislation. So this is basically looking at your processes and making them more beneficial to the public.

Mr. Hart: — And one final question, Minister, and I believe you have addressed it, but I just wanted to review. These changes in no way endanger the integrity of any of the systems and they don’t endanger the public in any way. It’s just simply we’re streamlining the bureaucratic process in this Bill. Is that correct?

Hon. Mr. Nilson: — I think that’s exactly right. It’s streamlining the process and making sure that the right interests are registered so that the public have that information. It’s also putting the onus on the people who are doing the work to make sure their interests are registered as well which is also a good thing to do because it makes the system work better to provide benefit to the public.

Mr. Hart: — No further questions.

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