New provincial legislation which removes private land from TFLs is “absolutely criminal” and “public abuse”, Port Clements council members said Monday night (July 19).
Councillor Gerry Johnson said the provincial government last week allowed some forest companies, including Weyerhaeuser, to manage private land separately from the public lands they log. The decision affects 17,400 hectares on the islands, which was part of TFL 39.
“It’s put the clock back 35 years in forest management,” he said. “They’ve just basically gutted the Forest Act and the Forest Practices Code.”
Councillor Paul Waring said that when BC set up the Tree Farm Licence system, which allowed timber companies access to vast tracts of public land, the companies were required to include their own private land in the TFLs as part of the deal. Provincial management policies then applied to the entire TFL.
Logging activity on private land does not have to meet the same standards, Mr. Johnson said.
“They’re selling out our future for a few political cookies,” he said, adding he was surprised that there was absolutely no public consultation on the scheme.
Port will raise this issue at the Union of BC Municipalities conference this September. The village is sending four people to the conference, which will be held in Kelowna. In other Port news:
Â• A local businessman complained about an adjusted water and sewer bill that asks him to pay an additional $645 for the first half of the year.
Urs Thomas, owner of the Golden Spruce Motel, wrote a letter saying he was surprised about the extra charges, and that it was too late in the year for him to change his prices to reflect the additional expense. He also said that it was not his fault that the village had previously charged him the wrong amount.
The water and sewer rates have not changed, but the village has started charging businesses what they are supposed to be paying under the existing bylaw, said administrator Dana Schmidt.
Ms Schmidt said that every restaurant in Port, for example, was being charged incorrectly.
Council members said they were not willing to go back to the old, incorrect charges.
“I know we’re going to have to take some slings and arrows but what we’re doing is honest,” said councillor Gerry Johnson.
Mr. Johnson also pointed out that the village is not asking for additional money for all the previous years when incorrect water and sewer charges were applied, only this year.
Â• Council received a proposal from local artist Manzanita Snow to paint murals on the sides of the new concrete washrooms in the community park. Ms Snow suggested painting the walls with community activities like soccer, the mud bog, softball, Canada Day festivities, dog walking and dirt biking. Total cost of the project would be $4,175.
Council members said they don’t have enough money at the moment.
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