CRD director Joan Sorley (left)

CRD director Joan Sorley (left)

Greater sharing advocated for community forest plan

About 100 people gathered at 150 Mile House to discuss a community forest agreement proposed by the City and the Williams Lake Indian Band.

There were repeated requests for rural community representation on the proposed Williams Lake community forest’s board of directors during a public meeting held at 150 Mile House Monday evening.

About 100 people gathered at the 150 Mile House Fire Hall to discuss the community forest agreement proposed by the City of Williams Lake and the Williams Lake Indian Band.

Gail Wallin from the Fraser Basin Council facilitated the meeting and insisted people make specific suggestions and recommendations.

Presently there are six members on the board, three appointed by the band and three by the city.

Mayor Kerry Cook said the city and band have established a legal partnership that is at arms length from the proponents.

“The directors are responsible for the administration and management of the community forest application, which includes approving budgets, establishing policies and operating procedures.”

A community council or community resource board would also be established as a forum for ongoing and meaningful dialogue with communities.

“The idea of creating such a council or board was made in response to feedback we received at the community meeting in November 2011. This is something we’ve added to the application,” Cook said.

Ken Day, forester and manager of the application process, said the Cariboo Chilcotin Land Use Management Plan will continue to apply in the area and will be the “mainstay of the management plan.”

Some residents advocated improved safety standards for logging roads, and that local contractors would have logging and salvage opportunities in the forest.

A retired forester, involved with community forests in the Cariboo Chilcotin, said the total annual allowable cut of 40,000 cubic metres for the CFA’s two blocks is too “little to go around.”

Joan Sorley, Cariboo Regional District Big Lake/Horsefly/Likely area director, suggested the terms of reference for a community council or a community resource board need to be enshrined in the CFA application so communities know how they will be represented.

Jack Darney, Big Lake Community Association president, said the council needs to be linked to the board so it has some meaningful direction.

Another person suggested the community council needs to have a 33 per cent share of the partnership.

Amy Sandy from the Williams Lake band said there has to be expertise in land management on the council and that youth should be represented.

Sam Zirnhelt from Big Lake said the communities of Big Lake, Miocene and Horsefly are interested in participating in the management of the North block because it is closest to them, not the areas closer to the 150 Mile House or Sugar Cane, or the South block.

Zirnhelt also said frustration felt by people in the rural communities comes from the past four meetings they’ve had with the proponents.

“We still didn’t address the core issues,” Zirnhelt said. “We want to discuss governance, area and financial benefits.”

Cecil Morhart from Horsefly said five per cent of the net profits going to rural communities is not enough.

“I don’t think the city and band should get 95 per cent. That’s not a community forest endeavour.”

When asked Cook said: “tens of thousands” has been spent on the application process so far. If the community forest loses money, Cook said the legal partners would take the hit.

“Obviously that’s not something we would like to happen,” Cook added.

Williams Lake Indian Band Chief Ann Louie said the proponents know there are outstanding issues and questions that the rural communities want answered and addressed.

“We want you to know that we will take consideration of everything raised this evening,” Louie said.

A summary from the meeting will go to the residents who attended the meeting, the proponents, and the Ministry of Forest, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, Wallin said.nday evening

About 100 people gathered at the 150 Mile House Fire Hall to discuss the community forest agreement proposed by the City of Williams Lake and the Williams Lake Indian Band.

Gail Wallin from the Fraser Basin Council facilitated the meeting and insisted people make specific suggestions and recommendations.

Presently there are six members on the board, three appointed by the band and three by the city.

Mayor Kerry Cook said the city and band have established a legal partnership that is at arms length from the proponents.

“The directors are responsible for the administration and management of the community forest application, which includes approving budgets, establishing policies and operating procedures.”

A community council or community resource board would also be established as a forum for ongoing and meaningful dialogue with communities.

“The idea of creating such a council or board was made in response to feedback we received at the community meeting in November 2011. This is something we’ve added to the application,” Cook said.

Ken Day, forester and manager of the application process, said the Cariboo Chilcotin Land Use Management Plan will continue to apply in the area and will be the “mainstay of the management plan.”

Some residents advocated improved safety standards for logging roads, and that local contractors would have logging and salvage opportunities in the forest.

A retired forester, involved with community forests in the Cariboo Chilcotin, said the total annual allowable cut of 40,000 cubic metres for the CFA’s two blocks is too “little to go around.”

Joan Sorley, Cariboo Regional District Big Lake/Horsefly/Likely area director, suggested the terms of reference for a community council or a community resource board need to be enshrined in the CFA application so communities know how they will be represented.

Jack Darney, Big Lake Community Association president, said the council needs to be linked to the board so it has some meaningful direction.

Another person suggested the community council needs to have a 33 per cent share of the partnership.

Amy Sandy from the Williams Lake band said there has to be expertise in land management on the council and that youth should be represented.

Sam Zirnhelt from Big Lake said the communities of Big Lake, Miocene and Horsefly are interested in participating in the management of the North block because it is closest to them, not the areas closer to the 150 Mile House or Sugar Cane, or the South block.

Zirnhelt also said frustration felt by people in the rural communities comes from the past four meetings they’ve had with the proponents.

“We still didn’t address the core issues,” Zirnhelt said. “We want to discuss governance, area and financial benefits.”

Cecil Morhart from Horsefly said five per cent of the net profits going to rural communities is not enough.

“I don’t think the city and band should get 95 per cent. That’s not a community forest endeavour.”

When asked Cook said: “tens of thousands” has been spent on the application process so far. If the community forest loses money, Cook said the legal partners would take the hit.

“Obviously that’s not something we would like to happen,” Cook added.

Williams Lake Indian Band Chief Ann Louie said the proponents know there are outstanding issues and questions that the rural communities want answered and addressed.

“We want you to know that we will take consideration of everything raised this evening,” Louie said.

A summary from the meeting will go to the residents who attended the meeting, the proponents, and the Ministry of Forest, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, Wallin said.

 

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