Community forest likely: MIEDS chair Delves

  • Nov. 19, 2008 6:00 a.m.

It looks like the islands will be getting a community forest tenure, says economic development society chair Cory Delves, who met earlier this month with Forests Minister Pat Bell and Finance Minister Colin Hansen. Mr. Bell “is definitely committed to making it happen,” Mr. Delves said of the community forest. “There’s still some hurdles to get over… The islands allocation still has to be sorted out.” Islands communities have been lobbying government for a community forest tenure for many years. Right now, the provincial government and the Council of the Haida Nation are talking about how the timber cut on the islands will be allocated in the future, following their land use agreement. The Haida Nation is receiving a 120,000 cubic metre cut and it looks like the community forest tenure will be the same size, Mr. Delves said. The combined cut should provide lots of opportunity for local people, he said. On the same trip, members of the Misty Isles Economic Development Society also had a breakfast meeting in Vancouver with Bob Brash of Husby Forest Products, Mr. Delves said. Mr. Brash told them that if they are successful in securing a community forest, Husby is very interested in working with them on it. The delegation also met with BC Tel to talk about the cell phone tower it had planned to construct at Mount Poole on Moresby Island, Mr. Delves said. The tower would extend cell service to Queen Charlotte and perhaps further up along the east coast of Graham Island. BC Tel has stopped the project for now because of higher than expected costs, he said. The islanders told the phone company that they very much want cell phone service and would like a time line for when the work will resume. “All in all, they were very positive meetings,” Mr. Delves said. “It was a long day, but very successful.” Meanwhile, three members of the Misty Isles Economic Development Society have resigned recently, and the society will be discussing how to replace them when it next meets Nov. 26, Mr. Delves said. The three resignations are all from Queen Charlotte: Len Munt, Maureen Weddell and Sarah Loewen. There are 17 spots on the board: five members representing Masset, Port, Queen Charlotte, Sandspit and rural Graham Island, and 12 appointed members from the general public. The society was set up earlier this year but has yet to hold a public meeting. Mr. Delves said the Nov. 26 meeting is closed, but the agenda will include a discussion about how the society can be more open.