By ADAM OLSEN
Saanich North and the Islands MLA
On May 28, 2019, the provincial government announced a review of the Private Managed Forest Land Program. They have invited British Columbians to add your voice to the program review. The province is accepting public comments until July 22, 2019.
Over the past few months there has been a flood of correspondence to my office. My constituents on the Southern Gulf Islands, residents on Southern Vancouver Island and in the Kootenays, are raising substantial concerns about the impact of logging practices on privately owned forest lands.
The City of Nelson and the Association of Kootenay Boundary Local Governments have recently added their voices asking the province to tighten restrictions of logging on private land. There are a range of issues that we need to address. These include water supply (watersheds and aquifers) and slope stability, to name a couple. There are others and the province wants to hear from you!
It’s been intensely frustrating to feel powerless to deal with an issue that potentially impacts so many people. There are many competing interests that we must consider in this review to ensure we respect private property rights while balancing the needs of neighbours, neighbourhoods and communities.
With respect to the unique challenges on the Southern Gulf Islands, I am investigating specific ways to harmonize these issues and will be discussing these more in the coming weeks. In the meantime, I encourage you to participate in the provincial consultation process and have your voice heard.
- Provincial government media release with background information
- Information about the Coast Forest Sector Revitalization
There is also a public engagement of the Forest and Range Practices Act (FRPA) ongoing. I encourage all British Columbians to add their voices to that review as well. FRPA was just amended this spring and the province is considering further changes. For concerned citizens on the South Coast and in the Kootenays, it’s important to note that the Private Managed Forest Lands Act is likely the one impacting your community the most (these regions are where there are large quantities of Private Managed Forest Lands).
The Minister is accepting public comments for FRPA until July 15, 2019.
– The writer is MLA for Saanich North and the Islands.