[PREAMBLE: Before I get to the letter, I want to expand on this a bit. As the kids say these days… I have a lot of “feels” when it comes to this issue, thus the slightly strong title to this article. I am sure many of you reading this have strong feelings too.
I have always believed in my heart (and my head) that how we manage our forests is going to be a key to turning the climate change emergency around and that it will take a lot of people doing a lot of good honest work to do it. This should be an opportunity.
The recent and unexpected curtailment of operations has been horrible. The ongoing strike at WFP has been horrendous. I believe workers and communities are being used as pawns by huge companies that care only about their share price and are upset with the current government. They are completely resistant to change. This is a direct threat to our communities, our environment, and our employment.
Our government does not escape blame either, our MLA has always been responsive to having a meeting to hear my concerns around Section 21, watersheds and public access to lands. It was suggested I wait for this PMFL review to be done before we get together. Now that it’s out, I’ll be arranging that meeting, but I will go in with eyes and ears wide open for what is said and not said, and what is done, and not done.
In the end though, the responsibility for private land of any sort is at the hands of the land owners. The companies have been granted an incredible resource that would normally be a public asset. Their management of this asset in terms of benefits to the people of Vancouver Island and British Columbia has been nothing short of abysmal.
Expect a wider article on this issue in time.
Original Subject: “Forest Companies recommendations laughable and offensive”
(Published by AV News, November 27, 2019 with slight edits.)
On November 5th the provincial government released a summary of what they heard during the review of the Private Managed Forest Lands Act. The good news is, it appears local government and citizens are speaking with one voice. They want better protections of watersheds, habitat, old growth, access and a better functioning forest sector.
You can read everything at engage.gov.bc.ca.
I believe one key way to achieve all of that is to repeal Section 21 of the Act.
This is the section that prohibits local governments and communities from regulating the actions of private forest companies within their territories. Communities should have more control, especially when it comes to protection of water supplies, and economic development.
However, the response from the forest companies, quoted below should get people’s attention:
“For those who own private forest lands and participate in the PMFL program, most feel that a better tax break would provide incentive to remain in the program. Factors that could encourage these land owners to leave the program would be a lack of financial incentives or stricter regulations.”Page 2 of PDF DOWNLOAD HERE
That’s right, Mosaic and its operating companies Island Timberlands and Timberwest want more of our money and less regulations, or they will leave “the program”.
How incredibly offensive and tone deaf.