Public input discussed for forestry management

An interim report has revealed what Williams Lake residents and residents in other B.C. communities think about current forestry practices.

An interim report has revealed what Williams Lake residents and residents in other B.C. communities think about current forestry practices.

The report, released by the self-described non-partisan and volunteer-supported Healthy Forests, Healthy Communities group, found in Williams Lake residents expressed a desire for: government and industry to inform the public of forest management decisions and actions; better communication between forest companies and residents; the development of local solutions for local issues; ensuring the Cariboo Chilcotin Land Use Plan reflects the impact of the mountain pine beetle epidemic; encouraging the investment in forest lands management; retaining some revenue generated from regional forest lands; reducing conflicts among overlapping resources and tenures; developing a plan for long-term resilience and implementing Forest Practices Board recommendations.

The community consultation was held in Williams Lake, June 20.

To date Bill Bourgeois, initiative co-ordinator, and his volunteers have visited 15 communities across the province gathering input into current forest practices; he plans to visit more throughout the months of September and October before the final report is completed by the fall.

Bourgeois, a registered professional forester, created the group in January because of what he saw as concerns from forest professionals, environmentalists and First Nations regarding forest management.

“There were a number of people with a wide range of perspectives who were concerned that forest management and the future of the forests was not going to be as desireable as they thought. So, if we continued what we are doing right now then they were not comfortable with what the forests will look like in the longer term.”

Bourgeois says the concerns in Williams Lake were consistent with those heard in other communities.

“People wanted to have more say in the forest and the decisions that are made in the forest. They want to know what’s going on out there and more education and forest management and they want to have a diversified forest sector.”

Bourgeois says a problem with the Forest and Range Practices Act – that governs forestry operations in the province – is a perception of a lack of accountability.

The FRPA sets out objectives, is not prescriptive, allows for flexibility and results in general plans explains Bourgeois. Whereas the former act strictly laid out requirements.

Under the FRPA “…the plans that are submitted tend to be rather general so it’s unclear what the specific actions are going to be taken… It’s not that they (timber companies) haven’t planned out those actions it’s just that they don’t have to submit those to get approval. If you’re a concerned citizen you have to go into the forest company’s office and ask for those detailed plans.”

This, says Bourgeois, can lead to public skepticism about what’s occurring in the province’s woods.

What Bourgeois hopes will come out of the final report is public activism whether condoning or decrying current forestry practices.

“The expectation is that there will be enough people to voice their concerns and identify the issues and what they want as a community or as an individual that the polititicians and the companies will take notice of that,” he said.

“It really depends on how vocal the public are. If they say nothing then the politicians are going to assume that there is not a problem with what is going on. So really it’s up to the people to stand up and say what their concerns are and then the politicians and the companies will listen to that.”

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

Just Posted

Seniors in the Interior Health region can book their COVID-19 vaccinations starting Monday, March 8, 2021 at 7 a.m. (File photo)
Seniors in Interior Heath region can book COVID-19 shots starting Monday

Starting March 8 the vaccination call centre will be open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily

Lorne Doerkson is the Liberal MLA for the Cariboo-Chilcotin. (Black Press Media file photos)
MLA’s CORNER: Premier Horgan needs to work harder

There are lots of people out there who are in desperate need of assistance

The first Chimney Creek Roadhouse, constructed in 1864. (Photo courtesy of the B.C. Provincial Archives)
HAPHAZARD HISTORY: The Isnardy family of Williams Lake

Amadee Isnardy was born in 1840 near Nice, France

Jim Hilton pens a column on forestry each week for the Quesnel Observer.
FOREST INK: Ecological economics not a popular topic for most people

The following is a review of the no (or slow) growth concept

Do you have a letter? Email us at editor@wltribune.com
LETTER: BC Liberals left ICBC a mess: Farnworth

Our BC NDP government has worked tirelessly to fix the mess that was left behind

The James C Richardson Pipe Band marches in a Remembrance Day parade on Nov. 11, 2019 in Chilliwack. Wednesday, March 10 is International Bagpipe Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of March 7 to 13

International Bagpipe Day, Wash Your Nose Day and Kidney Day are all coming up this week

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

Victoria man Brett Andersen is asking for people’s help to secure him one of eight free tickets to the moon. (Screenshot/@brettandersen Instagram)
Victoria man wants your help securing a free ticket to the moon

Japanese billionaire offering eight people a trip to the moon

The Conservation Officers Service is warning aquarium users after invasive and potentially destructive mussels were found in moss balls from a pet store. (BC Conservation Officers Service/Facebook)
Aquarium users in B.C. warned after invasive mussels found at pet store

Conservation officers were told the mussels were found in a moss ball from a Terrace pet store.

Hockey hall-of-fame legend Wayne Gretzky, right, watches the casket of his father, Walter Gretzky, as it is carried from the church during a funeral service in Brantford, Ont., Saturday, March 6, 2021. HE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky remembered as a man with a ‘heart of gold’ at funeral

The famous hockey father died Thursday at age 82 after battling Parkinson’s disease

Donald Alan Sweet was once an all star CFL kicker who played for the Montreal Alouettes and Montreal Concordes over a 13-year career. Photo courtesy of Mission RCMP.
Ex-B.C. teacher who was CFL kicker charged with assault, sexual crimes against former students

Donald Sweet taught in Mission School District for 10 years, investigators seek further witnesses

During a press event on March 6, Const. Alex Berube, media relations officer for the West Shore RCMP, addressed a deadly shooting that occurred in Metchosin the night before. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
VIDEO: One man shot dead on Vancouver Island in ‘targeted incident’

Highway 14 reopens following multi-hour closure for investigation

Personal protective equipment is seen in the COVID-19 intensive care unit at St. Paul’s hospital in downtown Vancouver. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
$16.9 million invested to improve worker safety, strengthen B.C.’s food supply chain

Money to be used for social distancing, personal protective equipment, cleaning, and air circulation

Most Read