CRD chips in to forest management talks

Discussions, public input underway on tenure changes

The Cariboo Regional District (CRD) will make a presentation as part of the province’s public engagement process on converting some volume-based forest licences to new or expanded area-based tree farm licences.

CRD chair Al Richmond says its presentation will reflect what the regional district presented during the Mid-Term Timber Supply Review in 2012.

Richmond, Area C (Bowron Lake-Barlow Creek-Barkerville) Director John Massier and CRD chief administrative officer Janis Bell will meet with the province’s former chief forester (stewardship), Jim Snetsinger, on May 1.

The veteran professional forester is compiling the feedback to prepare and provide a report to the Ministry of Forests and Natural Resource Operations by the end of June.

The plan is to convert some current area-based replaceable timber tenures to tree farm licences.

Snetsinger notes by allowing long-term volume-based tenures, licensees will have a vested interest in managing the forests for future harvesting, rather than possibly doing only the minimum required reforestation and then moving on to the next area.

“We believe there is a better chance that those given an area-based tenure will probably do a better silviculture program … because the person doing it will reap the benefits.”

However, the CRD will also relay its concern that these consultations encompass all those affected, Richmond adds.

“We want to be sure they look at other licences, some of the non-replaceable licences that are enjoyed perhaps by energy companies or First Nations communities, and ensure there is broad-based consultation.”

He says the CRD directors and management are “really happy” the ministry is looking at this, as they think it will offer an overall benefit.

Since it affects so many companies and communities, however, the directors won’t endorse it without first seeing overall industry and public input.

“Even the major licensees are not all on one side of this – they see some benefits; they see some potential downsides.”

The public is invited to participate in this public discussion on the expansion of area-based forest management at www.engage.gov.bc.ca/foresttenures until noon on May 30. This website posts reference material, questions and answers, a discussion paper and an interactive blog for an online conversation.