All forest licensees in B.C. have to go through a rigorous and complex process to obtain permission to harvest trees on public land in B.C.
The Community Forest is no different. It is a slow process to review and implement all of the applicable laws, regulations and requirements set by government, First Nations, utilities, etc., for each cutblock. We must meet the same requirements that the largest licensees must meet. There is a significant amount of consultation with the Sechelt Band. We have worked hard over the years to maintain a respectful and good working relationship with the Sechelt Band.
Our current plan is to harvest a 19-hectare block (Block EW28) in Wilson Creek. The information regarding block EW28 has been out in the public domain for almost three years. We were first contacted regarding mushrooms in Block EW28 in January of 2015. The Community Forest will upload a significant amount of data on our website this week to provide a more complete response to the information being distributed in the community by others. I believe it will help people understand the significant amount of work that has been done in the Powell River Forest District regarding species at risk, old growth, etc.
Block EW28 has gone through a comprehensive archeological assessment by the Sechelt Band, which found no issues. It was also put before Sechelt Band Chief and Council for a comprehensive review internally and independently by the Band. Upon completion of that review, the Band then communicated directly with the District Manager in Powell River, giving their consent to the blocks (EW28, EW23, HM49) to be put in a cutting permit.
We hope when the public reviews the information on our website, they will better understand and appreciate the processes involved.
Dave Lasser, Operations Manager, Sunshine Coast Community Forest