Forest plan does nothing for Charlottes, nothing for north, says MLA

  • Nov. 5, 2007 5:00 a.m.

North Coast MLA Gary Coons is taking the axe to the provincial government’s new “Coastal Forest Action Plan”, released last week by Forests and Range Minister Rich Coleman. Mr. Coons said the plan does nothing to help residents of the Charlottes or northern BC, and will not rebuild the manufacturing sector in this region. He was most critical of the plan’s loosening of log export rules in the north, and he tied the growing amount of log exports to mill closures and job losses on the north coast over the past decade. “Log exports exchange short-term gain for long-term pain,” Mr. Coons said. “The expansion of log exports to the Queen Charlottes coupled with the continuation of old-growth logging will lead to the devastation of our vulnerable coastal forests. This plan once again offers little hope for workers and communities and we need to press for the necessary transition programs and funding for both workers and communities.” The plan’s new rules for log exports from crown land, which take effect on Feb. 1, divide BC into a northern region and a southern region, with the two regions treated very differently. In the southern zone, rates are going up, and will be linked to lumber export charges. In the northern zone, by contrast, the government says it will extend the existing orders-in-council that allow up to 35 percent of harvested logs to be exported, and the export fees on these logs will be lower than in the south – just 5 percent, compared to up to 20 percent in the south (southern rates differ according to species). The export of cedar logs from crown land is currently banned and that ban will be maintained, the government said, because cedar is a high-value, unique species. The Ministry of Forests says log exports play “an important role in the coastal economy by providing jobs in the logging and transportation sectors.” The northern and southern zones are treated differently because in the north, the ministry says, logging costs are higher and there are few manufacturing facilities. Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP Nathan Cullen said he was having a hard time understanding the government’s logic. “The idea that raw log exports are somehow a good idea is perplexing to me,” he said. “Increasing raw log exports is increasing the export of jobs.” Bob Matters, chair of the United Steelworkers wood council, said he doubted that the government’s action plan would affect anyone living on the Charlottes, except that we might notice more logs being exported. Instead of easing restriction on northern log exports, the government should have looked for ways to make it easier for companies to produce products right here in BC out of locally-grown lumber, Mr. Matters said. Instead, it spent great time and effort producing what Mr. Matters called “a very disappointing plan.” The government’s plan also calls for more harvesting of second growth timber, saying that second-growth could make up 44 percent of the harvest in the next decade, from 5 percent in 1995 and 29 percent today. Mr. Matters said it’s hard to call that a plan, since there’s not much choice about the shift to second-growth. “That’s not a plan, it’s a reality,” he said.

Just Posted

Painting her way home

Janine Gibbons talks about all she learned illustrating Haida and Tlingit story books

Haida Gwaii gets top spot in The World

It was already a nice Christmas present, but Keith Moore was really… Continue reading

McNeill fined again for illegal fishing

A local man with a long history of poaching has been convicted… Continue reading

Old Massett taps grassroots for community plan

Over coffee, kitchen tables, and community dinners, Old Massett is taking a… Continue reading

Subsea internet cable to link up Haida Gwaii

Cable to connect Haida Gwaii, Prince Rupert, Vancouver Island, Sunshine Coast with mainland network

Testing the Google Arts & Culture app

Going face to face with art

VIDEO: Fuel truck and train collide in B.C. causing massive fire

More emergency crews are still arriving on scene of a massive fire at the Port Coquitlam rail yard.

Back to work: U.S. government shutdown ends after Democrats relent

Short-term spending measure means both sides could see another shutdown stalemate in three weeks

Man lives despite malfunctioning defibrillator at B.C. arena

A middle-aged man went into cardiac arrest after at game at Pitt Meadows Arena last Wednesday.

Cause of Northern B.C. seaplane crash released

TSB releases report on seaplane crash during a water landing in 2016 near First Nations community

Vancouver police crack down on pop-up pot vendors

Officers raided merchants’ tables on Robson Square late Sunday

Bell Media, NFL take appeal over Super Bowl ad rules to top court

At issue is a ban on substituting American ads with Canadian ones during the game’s broadcast

Crown seeks 4.5 years jail for B.C. woman convicted of counselling tax evasion

Debbie Anderson the latest from group to face jail for teaching debunked ‘natural person’ theory

UPDATE: Brother of B.C. teen killed by stray bullet says the death left a void

Alfred Wong, 15, was gunned down in Vancouver while on his way home from dinner with his family

Most Read