Forest reform sparks debate on privatization

Amendments converting volume-based forest cutting permits to area-based tenures are described as a move toward privatization Crown forests.

The B.C. government has introduced amendments to allow the conversion of volume-based forest cutting permits to area-based tenures, a move that some have described as a move toward privatization of Crown forests.

Forests Minister Steve Thomson said the government intends to proceed carefully with converting existing cutting permits, which set a maximum amount of timber that can be removed from a licence area each year.

Consultation with communities and First Nations in the forest areas would be extensively consulted first, Thomson said on Wednesday, Feb. 20.

The change is designed to make forest licences more like existing tree farm licences or community forests, which give licence holders an incentive to invest more than the legal minimum in replanting and silviculture to increase forest productivity over the long term.

Cariboo North MLA Bob Simpson has warned that the move could lead to public forests coming under the control of large forest companies.

Jason Fisher, vice-president of Dunkley Lumber, rejects the privatization argument.

His company bought a volume-based tenure in Fort St. James in 2009 when it took over Stuart Lake Lumber, and also holds an area-based tree farm licence at Hixon between Prince George and Quesnel.

“I think that is a misrepresentation of what goes on,” Fisher said on Feb. 20.

“We have numerous recreation areas, lakes where people go fishing, roads that people use to access their favourite hunting sites, berry picking site or mushroom harvesting. All that takes place in the area of the (Hixon tree farm licence).”

NDP forest critic Norm McDonald said the timber supply committee that toured the province last year to study the state of B.C. forests in the wake of the pine beetle epidemic supported the use of area-based tenures.

But the ministry didn’t have studies to show area-based tenures are a better way to go, although most foresters believe it is better.

 

Just Posted

Retired RCMP officer Kim Watt-Senner in the running for Fraser Lake council

Watt-Senner spent 19 years with the RCMP and also owns a business in Fraser Lake

John Murphy is running for re-election in Vanderhoof

The Vanderhoof councillor wants to work on housing and transportation

Audrey Fennema is running for Fraser Lake Village council

The longtime librarian hopes to parlay her connections into future village successes

‘Police are ready’ for legal pot, say Canadian chiefs

But Canadians won’t see major policing changes as pot becomes legal

Craig Lepoidevin looks to win a seat on Fraser Lake council again

Lepoidevin is prepared to devote all his time to improving the lot of the village

VIDEO: First legal cannabis purchases as midnight strikes in eastern Canada

Newfoundland and Labrador was the first province to kick off the sale of cannabis, just after midnight local time

Boeser tallies in OT as Canucks beat Penguins 3-2

Vancouver wins without star rookie Pettersson

Mayor of Kamloops says ‘history has been made’ with vote on B.C.’s lone pot shop

The store to be run by the province in B.C.’s Interior is opening Wednesday as pot sales become legal across Canada

New bus route to ‘replace’ Greyhound along Trans-Canada Highway

Rider Express Transportation says they will soon begin a bus service from Winnipeg to Vancouver

U.S. pot firm urges Trump to deny Canadian producers ‘competitive advantage’

The challenge for U.S. firms lies in the fact that while recreational cannabis is legal in nine states and medicinal pot in 22 others, it remains illegal under federal law

Government says imprisoned Canadian terror suspects must face consequences

Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale showed little sympathy Tuesday for such individuals who now want to return to Canada

How rules for inmate segregation in Canada will change under Bill C-83

Federal government proposing changes to rules around inmates in federal correctional institutions

Canada Post union issues strike notice; rotating strikes could begin Monday

Union says rotating strikes will begin if agreements aren’t reached with bargaining units

Carole James avoids questions on B.C.’s payroll tax (with video)

Green MLA Adam Olsen cites huge tax increase for local business

Most Read