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Letters: That wasn’t consultation – re. Timber Supply Review

Looking up at sunlight piercing through a douglas fir tree filled forest, British Columbia, Canada

The following is an edited version of a letter sent to Derek Lefler, district manager with FLNRORD and shared with the Coast Reporter. 

I am disheartened by the Timber Supply Review you had conducted via Zoom on Feb. 17. The presentations and format of this event indicate that for FLNRORD it is business as usual: i) continue to clear-cut as much forest as has always been done and ii) public input is not encouraged, as the review format did not allow for genuine discussions and follow-up questions. What’s more, many of our chat box questions were not at all, or only partially, answered. I hope that meetings held in such format will not be used to convince your political masters that FLNRORD has consulted with local communities and incorporated feedback into the next 10-year harvesting plan. 

The timber harvesting approach used presently by FLNRORD is based on current practices, thus what was done in the past, harvesting volumes above sustainable levels, will also be good for the future. However, climate change is here and cutting trees based on current practices is clearly not the way to go forward. The changing climate does not allow this. 

Your second speaker introduced a pilot project, the Forest Landscape Planning system, listing objectives such as supporting protection of environment, values of Indigenous peoples and local communities, next to your main objective, production and supply of timber. Unfortunately, there was no opportunity to have a discussion on this. How do you plan to achieve such opposing goals? How do you measure impact on biodiversity or guarantee protection of drinking water? Who decides these questions? How do you protect communities from flooding? Will FLNRORD and associated engineering companies be held liable? How will you incorporate input from local communities? What mechanism will allow local community wishes to be followed? Who has the last say?  

There is a clear need for answers before a new 10-year plan is established. 

Hermann Ziltener, Gibsons