The draft land use agreement between the provincial government and the Haida Nation could make it too expensive for forestry companies to operate here in the future, says Husby Forest Products Ltd. president Bob Brash.
Mr. Brash said he has serious concerns about the agreement, although some aspects of it are not clear yet.
“In general, it’s not pointing in a favourable direction,” he said.
Mr. Brash said he was surprised that the agreement chopped the new allowable annual cut here to 800,000 cubic metres, to be shared among all forestry interests on the islands. He said the amount is “arbitraryÂ… it came out of the blue.”
Husby currently has an allowable annual cut of 230,000 cubic metres, he said, and before the Duu Guusd area was protected the company’s cut was 340,000 cubic metres. There’s no information yet about how the new 800,000 cubic metre cut will be distributed, he said.
Mr. Brash said he is even more concerned about the standards the agreement proposes for ecosystem-based management, or EBM. He said Husby already practices a form of EBM, but the agreement sets out a more severe form which will drive up costs so much that the company will eventually have to stop operating.
“It’s an untested and draconian and unrealistic form of EBM,” he said. “I can’t see any operation being able to absorb those costs.”
Mr. Brash said he has read studies that conclude that implementing EBM results in a 15 to 20 percent hike in expenses.
It’s not just Husby that will find it impossible to operate under the new rules, he said. Any company, including one operated by the Haida Nation, will face the same challenges.
“Effectively what you’re doing is coming up with a regime that’s too expensive for whoever has harvesting rights in the area,” he said. “That should be a concern.”
Mr. Brash said he believes there are solutions to be found and would like to be involved in discussions to change the draft agreement. Husby has written letters to the provincial government about its concerns, but so far, he said, government has done nothing more than acknowledge receiving them.
Husby employs around 90 people in its operations on the islands, as well as 40 or 50 in the Lower Mainland, Mr. Brash said.
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