Crews from Husby Forest Products are back at work, but some things have changed one month since the logging blockade stopped at Collison Point / St’aala Kun.
At an islands protocol meeting on May 9, elected leaders from across Haida Gwaii heard that Husby has agreed not to apply for any new cutblocks at Collison Point.
The company was also working only within cutblocks where it had already started falling timber.
According to a report on the meeting by Port Clements Councillor Doug Daugert, two cutblocks that were laid out and approved were still in question.
Leaders at the May 9 meeting also discussed the possibility of using the $45-million Athlii Gwaii Legacy Trust to buy Husby’s forest tenure.
Haida Nation President Peter Lantin, kil tlaats’gaa, was reported to have said that the CHN sees putting the trust toward more locally-managed resources as a way to further islands governance for both Haida and non-Haida communities. Lantin said he is committed to a next step that promotes islanders working together.
In the last two and a half years, over a dozen cutblocks in the cedar-leading Collison Point area have gone “non-consensus” at the Haida Nation/B.C. Solutions Table, meaning the plans met the Haida Gwaii Land Use Order, but were approved over objections from the Council of the Haida Nation. In 2016, B.C.’s Forest Practices Board did a random audit of Husby’s work at Collison Point and found no major problems.
On March 13, a grassroots group called the Haida Gwaii Land Protectors began a blockade at Collison Point that lasted until April 26, when the B.C. Supreme Court granted Husby an injunction against unnamed protesters in the area.
A key issue in the dispute is the amount of cedar that has been harvested from the area.
Despite the fact that B.C.’s Chief Forester recommended a hard limit on Haida Gwaii cedar harvesting of no more than 38 per cent in October, the recommendation is not yet law. Since 2012, it has been a voluntary or ‘soft’ limit, and companies are not legally obliged to meet it.
This spring, the CHN finished two cabins above the Husby log boom at Collison Point, and staff from the CHN’s Protected Areas and Heritage and Natural Resources Departments are now working in the area to monitor forestry practices and the local ecology.
Besides a move to a hard cedar limit, CHN staff may suggest changes to the way monumental cedar trees are identified in the Haida Gwaii Land Use Order. The changes would result in more old-growth cedar trees being protected or harvested for Haida carvers and other cultural uses.