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FrontCounter BC office opens in Chilliwack

Minister of Agriculture, Don McRae, speaks during the opening of Chilliwack
Minister of Agriculture, Don McRae, speaks during the opening of Chilliwack's FrontCounter BC office at the Chilliwack Forest District Office on Monday afternoon. FrontCounter BC will provide residents and businesses in the Fraser Valley with a local office to conduct their natural resource business.
— image credit: JENNA HAUCK/ PROGRESS

A FrontCounter BC office opened in Chilliwack Monday to provide businesses with one-stop access to government approval processes.

"This will benefit a lot of people, not only in Chilliwack but in the surrounding communities as well," Chilliwack MLA John Les said, at a ribbon-cutting ceremony held at the Forest Ministry building on Airport Road where the new office is located.

Until now, the closest FrontCounter office was located in Surrey.

"Business is booming in B.C., especially in the natural resources sector," Agriculture Minister Don McRae said at the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

Job creation depends on decision-making in the community, he said, so the B.C. Jobs Plan aimed to increase access to government agencies.

"FrontCounter BC is one way of meeting that goal," he said.

FrontCounter staff will:

- Guide clients through required authorizations;

- Help clients complete applications;

- Interpret land information, maps, management plans;

- Follow-up and track the status of applications;

- Liaise with ministries, agencies and governments;

- Start referral process with First Nations;

- Help identify and market economic development opportunities.

McRae said FrontCounter offices opened with eight locations in 2005 to make learning what permits and approvals are needed to startup a big or small business "less like a wild goose chase, and more like a trip to the grocery store."

Over 47,000 authorizations have been made since 2005 and more than 175,000 inquiries made, he said.

The Chilliwack office is one of three new FrontCounter offices, bringing the total to 11 around the province, plus a toll-free call-in centre and online service.

The toll-free number is 1-877-855-3222. The Chilliwack office website address is frontcounterbc.gov.bc.ca/contact/chilliwack.html

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