Forest Practices Board Opposes Land Transfer to MB, Makes Submission to David Perry at Public Hearing
Queen Charlotte City – The Forest Practices Board says the proposed transfer of Crown forest lands to MacMillan Bloedel as compensation for park creation is not a good idea. The Board suggests that if compensation is required, an alternative means should be found. The Board will make its position known at the public hearing in Queen Charlotte City this evening.
The Board has four main reasons for its opposition to the government’s proposed settlement with MacMillan Bloedel: the proposal would eliminate the ability to manage forest resources at a watershed level; the public would lose its current right to have a say about forest practices on those lands and may lose access; sound forest practices and public confidence would be threatened; and once land is in private hands there is no turning back.
The Board’s views are based on its findings that the Forest Practices Code has resulted in significant improvements to forest practices on public lands where it applies. Removing the Code requirements from these lands could result in losing the benefits the Code has brought about. The private land regulations that would apply to these lands have lower standards than the Code. “Responsible management of the land would be based on the commitment of the owner of the land and ownership can change at any time,” said Moore. “While government has some say in the transfer of rights to harvest timber on public lands, it would have no such input once the lands become private. Any ability to ensure protection of public values and benefits to local communities will be lost forever.”
The Forest Practices Board is BC’s independent watchdog for sound forest practices. The Board provides British Columbians with objective and independent assessments of the state of forest planning and practices in the province, compliance with the Code, and the achievement of its intent. The Board’s main roles are: auditing forest practices, undertaking investigations in response to public complaints, undertaking special investigations of any Code related forestry issues, participating in administrative reviews and appeals and providing reports on Board activities, findings and recommendations
June 28, 1999