A map shows the proposed area for a Haida Gwaii Community Forest. Divided into five sections, the total area includes about 60,000 hectares that are expected to sustain an annual cut of about 80,000 m3. Most of the harvest would come from the Drizzle/Watt/Loon Lake area between Masset and Port Clements. Other areas include an east coast area south of Tlell, the Honna River area from west of Queen Charlotte to north of Skidegate, as well as the Sewell/Tasu and Skidegate Lake areas on Moresby Island. (Haida Gwaii Natural Resource District)

Islanders asked for feedback on community forest

What do islanders think of the current proposal for a Haida Gwaii Community Forest?

Just before Christmas, the province invited the Misty Isles Economic Development Society (MIEDS) to apply for an area-based community forest.

Unlike a typical community forest in B.C., there is a condition that for the first 55,000 m3 logged each year, contracts will go through BC Timber Sales — a provincial agency — and the revenues split 50/50.

Based on current projections for the area, the community forest can expect to manage up to about 25,000 m3 more on its own, although that number may decline after a new timber-supply review is finished later this year.

“This is an opportunity that’s been a long time coming, and we want to do it well,” says Janine North, executive director for MIEDS. Chaired by Masset Mayor Andrew Merilees, the society represents the villages of Masset, Port Clements, and Queen Charlotte, plus Sandspit, Tlell, Tow Hill and other rural areas that are part of the North Coast Regional District.

North is touring Haida Gwaii coffee shops and council chambers over the next two weeks to hold 19 public-feedback meetings about the community forest, and will also gather comments at admin@mieds.ca until Feb. 28. MIEDS has also set up a website for the community forest at haidagwaiicommunityforest.com.

While MIEDS currently has until April 15 to answer the province’s invitation, North said that deadline could be extended.

“I’m not sure we’ll have all the public consultation done by the deadline,” she said, speaking to Queen Charlotte council on Monday.

“It’s more important that we do this right, that we include people and involve them.”

READ MORE: Province answers islanders’ call for a Haida Gwaii Community Forest

At this point, North said the society is mainly looking for islanders’ high-level concerns, such as whether MIEDS should accept the current proposal or keep negotiating, and what principles should guide management of a community forest. Site-level planning would be done at a later stage.

Still, North suggested to Queen Charlotte council that people in Queen Charlotte and Skidegate may be particularly concerned about the steep, forested, and creek-lined slopes behind both villages, ares that part of the community forest proposal.

“Really think about your backyard,” she said.

Writing to provincial officials in January, Andrew Merilees said MIEDS remains concerned about the 50/50 revenue split with BCTS, but welcomed the idea of awarding a short-term, transitional tenure of 80,000 m3 to the Council of the Haida Nation that the CHN would manage on MIEDS’ behalf until a community forest is up and running.

Provincial staff have said that could take about two years.

Along with reaching an agreement with MIEDS, the province will consult the Haida Nation on the proposal, according to the Kunsta’aa guu – Kunst’aayah Reconciliation Protocol. MIEDS is also contracting a forester to review the timber-supply modelling for the proposed area.

READ MORE: BCCFA advises caution on community forest partnership

Speaking at a recent council meeting, Port Clements Mayor Urs Thomas echoed Merilees’ concerns about the 50/50 revenue split with BC Timber Sales.

“Back in earlier discussions, people were hoping there would be a higher percentage, even up to 100 per cent,” Thomas said.

“Unfortunately, the government is quite strict on the 50 per cent at the moment.”

Councillor Doug Daugert noted that if it goes ahead, the community forest plan will also be reviewed by the local B.C. forestry office, the province’s regional forestry director, BC Timber Sales, and the Chief Forester.

“It’s a very labyrinthian process that they have described,” he said.

“There are some good things about it, and a whole lot of difficult things because as things get more complicated there are more things that can go wrong… It’s not going to be fast, and it’s not going to be easy.”

Just Posted

Maritime Museum project receives legacy grant

A special project of the Dixon Entrance Maritime Museum Society has been… Continue reading

Richardson Ranch celebrating 100 years of family and ranching in Haida Gwaii

Tlell Polled Hereford’s continue to win awards while the ranch becomes a popular spot for visitors

Indigenous voices finally heard with final MMIWG report, says Northwest B.C. advocate

The report contains more than 200 recommendations to multiple levels of government

Sustainble economy flourishing in Haida Gwaii and Great Bear Rainforest thanks to First Nations investments

From 2008-2018, funding initiatives led to more than $286 million in new investments

New exhibit at Haida Gwaii Heritage Centre, Kay Llnagaay

Ubiquitous Cocoons: My metamorphosing life by Kathy Pick will be running until Sept. 1, 2019

First ever Nisga’a mortuary totem pole unveiled in Prince Rupert cemetery on Father’s Day weekend

The pole was unveiled at Fairview Cemetery in honour of the late Robert Tait, renowned carver

B.C. church’s Pride flag defaced for second time in 12 days

Delta’s Ladner United Church says it will continue to fly the flag for Pride month

Police probe report of shooting as Raptors rally continues

There were reports of a woman being injured at the event that celebrates the team’s NBA title win

Oil and gas sector cautious as deadline on Trans Mountain decision nears

Trudeau government expected to announce whether it will approve pipeline for second time on Tuesday

Skipping school costs a dozen B.C. students chance at a new car

Cowichan’s Jared Lammi showed up and won $5,000 cheque toward vehicle, but he can’t drive

People throwing food at a bear in Fernie alarms conservation groups

“Approaching and feeding bears contributes to habituation,” says conservation group

Feds announce $50M strategy to fight dementia

Emphasis is on prevention and and supporting caregivers

Federal Liberals’ plan to help first-time homebuyers to kick in weeks before election

Ottawa to pick up 5% of a mortgage on existing homes for households that earn under $120,000 a year

First ever Nisga’a mortuary totem pole unveiled in Prince Rupert cemetery on Father’s Day weekend

The pole was unveiled at Fairview Cemetery in honour of the late Robert Tait, renowned carver

Most Read