People interested in land-based opportunities in B.C. will now have easy access to information and making applications thanks to a new website.

Minister of State for Rural Economic Development Donna Barnett was in Williams Lake Wednesday to officially launch the Natural Resources Sector Online Services portal.

“It’s a one-stop shop,” Barnett said of the new website during a media conference held in the FrontCounterBC office at 640 Borland Street.  “Everything is being brought together to ease the ability to be active on the land base.”

Jaymie Jones is a natural resource specialist in Williams Lake and said she was happy about the new website.

“As someone who is going to be using this tool with the public I am very excited,” Jones said.

Dean Hardman, business transformation lead for the project, was on hand to demonstrate how the website works.

Hardman said people using the site to apply for permits or opportunities for such things as placer mining, logging or even beekeeping, will find information on the site covering everything from mandatory authorizations and costs of fees to potential additional requirements.

“And there’s an interactive mapping tool,” he said as he typed in a region on the screen and zoomed in.

The new website is all about giving citizens and applicants all the information they need, said Mike Hykaway, executive director of the Natural Resource Sector Transformation Secretariat.

“It will make the application process faster with the use of smart forms, application guidance and activity and land-based assessment tools,” he added.

Once someone has logged on and started the process of making an application all the information will be saved and the user can return and log in, Hardman said.

Wednesday’s launch is only the beginning, Hykaway said, noting in the spring of 2017 more will be added to the site for clients to make payments and manage their documents online, and to simplify the process for notice of work applications for placer mining, gravel pits and mineral exploration.

The new website covers land-based activities of all six resource ministries, and will help as the government normally receives “tens of thousands” of applications a year, Hykaway said.