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a continuum of possible outcomes for logging.

Posted by judi 
a continuum of possible outcomes for logging.
July 13, 2017 04:23PM
As I understand it, BC Timber Sales [BCTS] is a Crown Corporation created to maximize income from forests on Crown land. It's arms length from the politicians. The province has direct income from stumpage fees and indirect income from the industry's jobs and sales. Typically, a timber company bids on a licence to harvest a specified amount per year over the term of the contract. How they do that is up to them - clear cut or selective, machines or animals, roads, waterfront log booms or helicopter. Regulation is notoriously non-existent or poorly enforced.

We have dodged this bullet for some considerable time. We have mature forests and have avoided harvesting while other sites have been logged or devastated by pine beetles or fires. Our forests are highly prized by many for as many reasons. I haven't heard of a legal argument to stop this, although that doesn’t mean one doesn’t exist! It is difficult to imagine a significant change in forest management practices which might make this more benign. National Park protection is no longer an option and while there might be some protection from a UNESCO ecological reserve for Howe Sound, that timeline is nowhere near fast enough for this surprise event.

At the far end of a continuum of possible outcomes, Bowen's inventory would be removed from the provincial inventory. That has been suggested in the past but has never happened and unless someone has a promise in writing, or there's some new political commitment, it may be the most difficult to achieve. A new political commitment would take strong and convincing negotiations by our community. We are at a disadvantage at the start since we have been surprised by the BCTS and they seem to be rushing a process. They might have let us know last year or 5 years ago, or some other timeline, but haven't. It's the summer when we're either away or if here, all we really want to do is loll and sip cold drinks where the ice is in small cubes and does not need to be shoveled. Similarly, a new Forestry Minister, yet to be appointed, might have the ability, and perhaps the willingness, to meddle in the affairs of a Crown Corporation, but the timing is difficult: for that person to get up to speed with the problems of tiny Bowen. For this result we need to get noticed and our resolve has to be clear. With that in mind it is also worth noting that BCTS was aware we hosted logger games, and might well be monitoring our discussions.

There has been mention of a community licence. BCTS is only interested in stumpage fees. Whether it can be persuaded that harvesting be done in such a way that would be far less alarming (with no visible effect, possibly creating parks and trails, or over a longer period of time) or perhaps with a significantly smaller yield, would require considerable work and expertise on our part to negotiate such an outcome. We would need to understand the economics and management of such a project, the bidding process, details of the terrain and what areas might be eliminated as hazardous or fragile, and whether we could outbid a private company with machinery and expertise. It is not at all clear if we have the time and talent to create such a plan.

Somewhere on the continuum would be the First Nations' land claims which include all or most of the Crown lands in BC. The Squamish band is interested in logging and either the band or individual members of the band have logging companies. I have no idea if their land claims would give them an advantage, or if their logging practices are such that they can be relied on to be sensitive and collaborative with our community. In Haida Gwai there are strong cultural interests in keeping old growth trees, in particular, for poles and canoes, and careful protection of water sources and salmon streams: it is detailed in their constitution. Our OCP may have similar principles but they do not override provincial interests. I am not familiar with the logging practices of the Squamish, or if any other local band has any claim to Bowen.

At the other end of the continuum would be a clear cut. In some respects it is the most economical, certainly the fastest yield, but what is not included in the calculations is the aftermath: the destruction of wildlife habitat, compacting or removal of topsoil & the elimination of water retention capability resulting in runoff, pollution of streams and wells, increased risk of landslides, and lower water tables. The aesthetics of views ruined, tourism and local economics damaged, interference with ferry traffic, damage to existing roads, damage to an intertidal area if a water log boom were used, and higher risk of fire with waste acting as tinder. Fundamentally, there would be damage to our sense of "sanctuary". The noise alone of an industrialized removal would be a profound nuisance.

What to do? I sincerely hope we collectively decide to go for the basic miracle (removal from the inventory), and at the same time gather expertise and information for the possibility of one of the other outcomes. We probably ALL need to dust off our camera ready placards, get our protest boots and apparel organized, plan to attend EVERY meeting to make our concerns visible, get the kids involved and go for it! For starters we need to let the new Forestry Minister know loud and clear we don’t want this and it will do more harm than good. We won't have another chance and we need to try to control the outcome. It will take some work. We need to organize, plan, research and compile strategies, arguments, support and contacts. There are issues to be researched: Who has strong connections to any politicians? What legislation can help us (Islands Trust, Local Government Act or the Forestry Act)? Who has contacts with other successful campaigns? Are there existing forestry or hydrology studies?

As we become more familiar with the issues the list of questions will grow. We all have to work on this.

Please start NOW with a letter to the people mentioned in Bob Turner's letter:
* Honourable John Rustad, Minister of Forests, Lands, & Natural Resource Operations: FLNR.Minister@gov.bc.ca
* Jordan Sturdy, MLA: jordan.sturdy.mla@leg.bc.ca
* Mayor and Council, Bowen Island Municipality: mayorandcouncil@bimbc.ca
* Peter Luckham, Chair of Islands Trust: pluckham@islandstrust.bc.ca
* Enrique Sanchez, BC Timber Sales: Enrique.Sanchez@gov.bc.ca
Re: a continuum of possible outcomes for logging.
July 13, 2017 06:49PM
I wonder if this Enrique Sanchez has ever worked as a logger. I did for three years as I'm sure many on Bowen have done too. Judging by the bulletins issued by Sanchez I'd think he has an insurmountable hill in front of him.
Re: a continuum of possible outcomes for logging.
July 14, 2017 10:53AM
I also hope for the miracle of 'removal from the database'. It is still unclear to me when we became part of this database. I'm curious as to who held the last license in 1991.

Also curious to hear from BCTS that these Forest Stewardship Plans have a 5 year expiry date, and they claim that they are renewing 'this' one - but when was the last one? 2012?

I don't recall any public notice, as would have been required per their own rules for a 60 day public input timeframe, and would/should have been advertised. Maybe this is one path at least to stall until we find out what kind of input will be most useful to achieve whatever objective Bowen collectively wants - and I think that is pretty unanimous.
Re: a continuum of possible outcomes for logging.
July 14, 2017 11:12AM
This is copied from Sanchez's reply to John Stiver's letter:

"BCTS is following section 20(2) of the Forest Planning and Practices Regulation (a clip of this section is shown below). The dates have been chosen to coincide with the expiration of the current FSP."

Where is this FSP that is about to expire? Where was the 60 consultation period in 2012?
Re: a continuum of possible outcomes for logging.
July 14, 2017 02:11PM
Aparently, there was no former FSP - get used to that acronym - Forest Development Plan. Bowen was NOT a renewal, as was suggested by Mr. Sanchez, except as part of a broader area. Pushed for details on the plan, I received a map from him, dated July 11,2017. According to their own rules, maps have to be submitted 60 prior to the end of the public consultation process. They missed their deadline. I hope some lawyer like person is reading this.
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