The following letter was sent to the Sunshine Coast Community Forest board and copied to Coast Reporter.
I am writing to express my disappointment with the leadership provided by the SCPI board regarding the recent logging activity in the Wilson Creek watershed. You are quoted in Coast Reporter, Dec. 7, saying, “The board’s direction is only following the province’s marching orders. The province is the landlord, they make the rules.”
This is not totally accurate. The province recently made major changes to the cutting permit rules for community forests.
Since 2008, the Community Forest Association membership has been clear that when it comes to tenure administration, the greatest obstacle is the amount of time it takes for cutting authority approval. Responding to community forests across the province, top priority was given by the government to the single cutting permit (CP) pilot project. The pilot project was initiated in the summer of 2011, with five communities participating, including Powell River. Community forest agreements are subject to tabular pricing, so appraisal information by cutting permit is not required. A single cutting permit for the entire chart area eliminates multiple cutting permit submissions and streamlines processing by the government. It gives the community forest licencee the discretion over their land base.
BCCFA president Kevin Davie responded to the announcement commenting, “This process will provide needed flexibility for community forests.”
Chris Liang, Powell River Community Forest, has already experienced the benefits: “We were able to see both time and cost savings when we did some blow-down salvage. One hammer mark simplifies trucking and tracking. You are basically approved before you start.”
Using the government as the reason for cutting the Wilson Creek forest decries the fact that SCPI can apply for a single CP for their entire chart area and reap the benefits, without resorting to logging Wilson Creek at this time.
John Bebbington, Sandy Hook