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Appeal denied on HM50 cutblock approval

ELF’s appeal ruled outside of Forest Services Board power
Equipment in position for road construction to support logging on Sunshine Coast Community Forest’s cutblock HM50 near Trout Lake in Halfmoon Bay, earlier this year.

On Nov. 18, the Forest Practice Board dismissed Elphinstone Logging Focus (ELF)’s appeal regarding the approval of Sunshine Coast Community Forest’s (SCCF) cutblock HM50 near Trout Lake.

ELF filed the action on Oct. 22, claiming that Sunshine Coast Natural Resource District manager Derek Lefler, failed to exercise his discretion to defer approval of cutblock HM50 when ELF presented him with new information. 

The appeal related to issues outside of the board’s jurisdiction, director of investigations, Chris Oman, conveyed in a Nov. 18 letter to involved parties. 

“The approval of a cutblock through the issuance of a cutting permit is done pursuant to the Forest Act. As the complaint is not within the jurisdiction of the board, the board cannot investigate it,” said Oman’s letter.  

He also stated, “The board has previously recommended to government that it should provide greater discretion to public officials when making decisions such as approval of blocks and roads. This would require changes to legislation or regulations that currently govern forestry, and efforts to do so may be underway. Government’s recent ‘Modernizing Forest Policy in British Columbia’ report mentions government’s intention to increase discretion in authorizing activities.”

SCCF’s operations manager Warren Hansen told Coast Reporter, “Although the Forest Practices Board complaint was dismissed as being not within the jurisdiction of the board, we are confident that our new direction to develop a ‘made-on-the-Sunshine Coast’ ecosystem management model will address some of the complainant’s concerns around old growth recruitment with linkages of harvesting, loss of fragile ecosystems and ties to the larger provincial initiative of protecting old growth. As a policy, the Community Forest already does not log Old Growth and over the next three years, will be working with the community to develop a plan that provides for resilient forest ecosystems.”