CRD refuses to interfere in community forest process

The CRD does not plan to weigh in on the proposed community forest application from the city of Williams Lake and Williams Lake Indian Band.

The Cariboo Regional District does not plan to weigh in on the proposed community forest application from the city of Williams Lake and Williams Lake Indian Band.

At its regular board meeting Dec. 14, several members of the board said they did not want to interfere, while a dozen representatives from rural communities east of Williams Lake listened in the gallery.

The board was asked to consider writing a letter of support for the application by the Williams Lake Indian Band.

Area F director Joan Sorley said the communities would support the application if it is amended.

“People are generally in support of this provided they can have meaningful input and get some benefits,” Sorley said, adding the communities recognize that the block is in the traditional territory of the WLIB, that’s never been a question.

“But Big Lake is 60 kilometres from Williams Lake. This is far away from the community.”

The communities have recognized all along there is room for a “win-win situation”, however the communities feel the proponents have not met the requirement for broad community support.

Sorely also said the business plan remains confidential, along with the mandate or terms of reference of a community council.

“They declined to put the terms of reference in their application. The application does say some really good things about new values and values of the community forest, if they could just nail it down a little bit more, then the communities would be happy to support it.”

Sorley encouraged the proponents to work with the communities so there’s an application everyone can support.

“If we don’t, my fear is if we simply allow the city of Williams Lake to ram it through regardless of what the communities feel their rights are that will create conflict and that’s not the kind of community forest we want to support.”

Quesnel mayor Mary Sjostrom asked why the city and band’s commitment is not enough.

“With all due respect, I don’t think it’s being rammed in. We’re looking at one as well and absolutely we need to work together, but at this point in the process to be raising concerns is confusing,” she said.

Williams Lake mayor Kerry Cook said community engagement has resulted in a stronger application.

“The communities have been engaged in a number of meetings over the last year. We haven’t come to agreement obviously, but we have listened, and made some concessions and changes to our original application,” Cook said.

In May the applicants asked if the CRD could be involved with administering a five per cent of the net profits generated from the community forest to the communities involved in the agreement.

At the board meeting Friday, the board was asked to support writing a letter to defer the request, however that motion was defeated.

“This situation is very complex,” Area J director Roger William added. “I feel that the CRD does not affect it whether they support or go against it, I think the ministry in its provincial process will make a decision.”

He also questioned if there’s a conflict in the CRD communities is it appropriate for the CRD to step in.

“Let those communities solve those issues for themselves, I’d be more comfortable with that,” William said.

Area L director Bruce Rattray echoed William and said he did not feel that he had enough information to know the right answer.

“We have two requests, an unconditional letter of support from the Williams Lake Indian Band, and a letter of support with conditions. The proponents of both letters don’t see either of these as being the common ground. There is obviously a split and I don’t feel comfortable that I know what the right answer is,” Rattray said.

Area C director John Massier suggested the board either writes a letter of support or no letter at all.

“I don’t want to write a conditional letter of support and I don’t think it’s fair to say if the application goes forward that the communities won’t have any input for the next 100 years.”

Sorley said the rural communities were asking for a meeting with the Ministry of Forests Lands and Natural Resource Operations to discuss options moving forward.

The ministry confirmed Friday that regional executive director Gerry MacDougall plans to meet with rural representatives regarding the Community Forest Agreement discussions with the proponents, the ministry said in an email.

“As well the ministry continues to be engaged with the First Nation and the municipality and will continue to communicate with them until all details of the proposed agreement have been worked out.”

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

FILE - In this April 19, 2021, file photo, Keidy Ventura, 17, receives her first dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine in West New York, N.J. States across the country are dramatically scaling back their COVID-19 vaccine orders as interest in the shots wanes, putting the goal of herd immunity further out of reach. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)
5 more deaths, 131 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health over the weekend

Those 18-years and older in high-transmission neighbourhoods can register for the vaccine

(File photo)
High-visibility arrest in Williams Lake nets BB gun, mistaken for assault rifle

RCMP thought the man was carrying an M16 assault-style rifle

letters
LETTER: Improvements needed at Scout Island

The City can do better managing their responsibilities

More than 14,800 COVID-19 vaccines have been administered at clinics in Williams Lake, Alexis Creek, Big Lake, Horsefly, West Chilcotin, 100 Mile House and Clinton as of Friday, May 7. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
6,000-plus people vaccinated for COVID-19 in Williams Lake, and in 100 Mile House

Interior Health Authority provide the numbers up to May 7, 2021

As a former reporter and editor at the Tribune, Diana French carries on sharing her ideas through her weekly column. (Photo submitted)
FRENCH CONNECTION: Reasonable decision making can go a long way

We’re all at fault, but today I’ll pick on politicians

A bullet hole is seen in the windshield of an RCMP vehicle approximately 4 km from Vancouver International Airport after a one person was killed during a shooting outside the international departures terminal at the airport, in Richmond, B.C., Sunday, May 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Homicide team IDs man in fatal YVR shooting as police grapple with spate of gang violence

Man, 20, charged in separate fatal shooting Burnaby over the weekend

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

RCMP are searching for Philip Toner, who is a ‘person of interest’ in the investigation of a suspicious death in Kootenay National Park last week. Photo courtesy BC RCMP.
RCMP identify ‘person of interest’ in Kootenay National Park suspicious death

Police are looking for Philip Toner, who was known to a woman found dead near Radium last week

Vancouver Canucks goaltender Thatcher Demko (35) makes a save on Winnipeg Jets’ Nate Thompson (11) during second period NHL action in Winnipeg, Monday, May 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Greenslade
Vancouver Canucks see NHL playoff hopes dashed despite 3-1 win over Winnipeg

Montreal Canadiens earn final North Division post-season spot

The B.C. legislature went from 85 seats to 87 before the 2017 election, causing a reorganization with curved rows and new desks squeezed in at the back. The next electoral boundary review could see another six seats added. (Black Press files)
B.C. election law could add six seats, remove rural protection

North, Kootenays could lose seats as cities gain more

The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. is investigating the shooting of an Indigenous woman in the Ucluelet First Nation community of Hitacu. (Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. First Nation wants ‘massive change’ after its 3rd police shooting in less than a year

Nuu-chah-nulth woman recovering from gunshot wounds in weekend incident near Ucluelet

Nurse Gurinder Rai, left, administers the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to Maria Yule at a Fraser Health drive-thru vaccination site, in Coquitlam, B.C., on Wednesday, May 5, 2021. The site is open for vaccinations 11 hours per day to those who have pre-booked an appointment. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
COVID vaccine bookings to open for adults 40+, or 18+ in hotspots, across B.C.

Only people who have registered will get their alert to book

Dr. Victoria Lee, CEO of Fraser Health, hosts an update on efforts to contain B.C.’s COVID-19 transmission in Surrey and the Fraser Valley and protect hospitals in the Lower Mainland, May 6, 2021. (B.C. government video)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate slowing, 20 more people die

Deaths include two people in their 40s, two in their 50s

Most Read