The provincial government says it will be taking action when it comes to balancing habitat protection for wildlife with business opportunities in the north.

The Ontario government has released information that they will create an independent expert panel to provide long-term solutions for species at risk in crown forests across the province.

Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry Nathalie Des Rosiers says the government listened to the concerns of northern municipalities as well as the forestry industry and environmental organizations before deciding upon a two-year regulation extension for forestry.

Kapuskasing Mayor Alan Spacek says the most recent proposal is definitely a major step in the right direction for communities in the north.

Spacek says the key elements to the proposal are; a two-year exemption granted for the forestry sector.

Also, he says the commitment by the province to withdraw the Endangered Species Act from the process and make it its own item for debate was a major step forward.

Lastly, Spacek says the establishment of a stakeholder group is something that northern representatives have been after for a while, and are pleased to have achieved.

The independent expert panel will work to identify innovative local opportunities and projects as part of an approach to protecting species at risk and the forestry industry.