Government restarts forest licence review

Forests minister says area-based licences are incentive to better care, NDP says it's a political payoff for big forest companies

Former B.C. chief forester Jim Snetsinger is touring the province for the next two months to hear from citizens

Former B.C. chief forester Jim Snetsinger is leading a public discussion this spring about converting volume-based logging licences to area-based tenures, a proposal the B.C. government backed away from before last spring’s election.

Forests Minister Steve Thomson announced the consultation this week and released a discussion paper for comment on a new website that will collect comments until May 30.

About 60 per cent of the logging on Crown land in B.C. is through volume-based forest licences, which give companies permission to cut a specified volume in the licence area. Thomson said the proposed change to area-based licences is to encourage companies to make longer-term investment in planting and silviculture to increase future productivity on Crown land. Area-based licences give the holder exclusive access, instead of competing with other logging companies, each licensed to take a set volume of wood from the same forest.

Thomson said the proposal is to help deal with the widespread damage left behind by the mountain pine beetle infestation that is causing a decline in timber supply for decades to come.

NDP forests critic Norm Macdonald said the experience with existing area-based tenures, called tree farm licences, is that they have not improved forest stewardship. About 15 per cent of B.C. lumber production is from tree farm licences, and the ministry can’t show evidence that they are better managed, he said.

Many of the existing tree farm licences are on the B.C. coast, where log exports have increased.

Macdonald said B.C.’s big forest companies have lobbied Premier Christy Clark for the change, which effectively privatizes large tracts of Crown forest, and now the forests ministry is being directed to implement the change.

Snetsinger said he worked with volume-based and area-based licences as B.C.’s chief forester, where he was responsible for setting annual allowable cut from 2004 to 2012. They have their supporters and detractors, and Snetsinger said he will hear from them all.

The consultation tour will have stops in Nanaimo, Kamloops, Prince George, Quesnel, Burns Lake, Williams Lake, Smithers, Dawson Creek, Cranbrook and Vancouver. Details will be posted on the consultation website when they are finalized.

Just Posted

Volunteer needed to empty dog poop can in Saanich Park

Local volunteers do the work of irresponsible dog owners at Mount Doug

Sexual assault charge dropped against from CFB Esquimalt member

Navy Lt. Ronald Clancy was charged with two counts of sexual assault in August 2018

Vancouver Island overdue for the big one, can also expect mega-thrust tsunami

The last big earthquake was 70 years ago in Courtenay

BC Ferries considers passenger only ferry between West Shore and Victoria

Royal Bay, Esquimalt and Ship Point considered as part of study into new route

Sentence handed down for sex assaults committed more than 30 years ago

Man in his 80s will serve a conditional sentence in the community

VIDEO: RCMP ask kids to help name soon-to-be police dogs

13 German shepherd puppies will be born this year

No injuries, pollution in Vancouver Harbour ship collision: Transport Canada

Transportation Safety Board says it has deployed a team of investigators look into the incident

Budget 2019: Five things to watch for in the Liberals’ final fiscal blueprint

Finance Minister Bill Morneau will release the Trudeau government’s final budget on Tuesday

New concussion guidelines launched for Canada’s Olympians, Paralympians

The guidelines will be in effect at this summer’s Pan American, Parapan American Games in Lima, Peru

Alphonso Davies doubtful for Canada game against French Guiana in Vancouver

Canada will be without injured captain Scott Arfield and veteran Will Johnson

Watchdog called after man who yelled racial slurs at B.C. vigil hurt during arrest

BC RCMP say man was ‘acting suspiciously’ at prayer vigil for victims of New Zealand mosque shootings

NDP’s Jagmeet Singh steps into the House of Commons, making history

Burnaby South MP becomes first visible minority to lead a federal party in the House of Commons

Reeling Port Alice about to lose its only bank

Scotiabank branch closure follows latest mill setback, bad for business and the elderly

Most Read