Land use agreement could shut down Sandspit, says Teal Jones report

  • Sep. 14, 2007 2:00 p.m.

By Heather Ramsay-Sandspit will cease to be the operational headquarters for one of the islands’ major licencees if the Strategic Land Use Agreement is signed, says a new report. Bryan Fraser, the forester for Sandspit’s Teal Jones Group, prepared two reports, one a socio-economic analysis and the other an analysis of the islands’ allowable annual cut after changes to land base and forestry practices outlined in the May 28 agreement initialled by the Council of the Haida Nation and the province are taken into account. In one report, he estimates the allowable annual cut on the islands will drop from 1.3 million cubic metres (pre-SLUA) to 477,000 cubic metres per year with all of the new protected areas and management constraints. For Teal Jones, the cut will drop from 115,000 cubic metres to 43,000 cubic metres, a level that would not support the company’s operations, he said. That’s a reduction of 49 per cent for the smallest of the three major forest licencees on Haida Gwaii. “It’s not enough volume to support a stand alone forestry operation,” Mr. Fraser said. The company would have to merge with another, and even then, the volume would not support year-round operations. “We would have to mobilize equipment every other year,” he said. The report says that Teal Jones provides 65 full-time jobs in Sandspit. These positions support another 25 full-time non-forestry jobs, says the report. The impact on the company’s operations would also impact employment in the town, jeopardizing services such as the school and grocery store as well. Mr. Fraser notes his analysis for the islands cut was extrapolated by measuring the impact the land use agreement will have on cutblocks he has measured and ready for logging, and then applying that to the entire islands. He said he has not seen the report on the impacts of the land use agreement to the allowable annual cut prepared by analysts for the province and the CHN. He believes that report will follow more structured methods. As it stands now, the initialled agreement includes a minimum timber target of 800,000 cubic metres a year. The report was to determine whether the management objectives outlined for such things as goshawks, culturally modified cedar and other values, will have a larger impact on the AAC. The results of the timber supply analysis completed for the province and the CHN have not been released.Liz Bicknell, spokesperson for the Ministry of Agriculture and Lands, said the province will not comment on the land use agreement during the government to government negotiations. She said the government continues to work toward the goal of an 800,000 cubic metre annual cut. CHN negotiator Arnie Bellis did not respond to the Observer’s calls by press time.