By Heather Ramsay–The Haida Gwaii Land Use Plan, in the works since 2003, is still not signed, but it has been initialled by the province and the Council of the Haida Nation.
Minister of Agriculture and Lands Pat Bell told the Observer in a telephone interview on Tuesday that the province was back working with the CHN for the past few weeks and a draft agreement was initialed Monday (May 28).
Now, he says, the agreement will be made available to industry and the communities. He says maps and more details will be sent to all mayors and councils and made available to the public.
He says some of the details in the document include a minimum timber target, also known as allowable annual cut, set at 800,000 cubic metres a year.
“That’s a base and we’re hoping to work with everyone to achieve that and more,” says Minister Bell.
Some new proposed protected areas are also in the plan, covering much of the west coast of both Graham and Moresby Islands. These areas add continuity between Duu Guusd and Gwaii Haanas, with some exceptions for access corridors to potential energy projects and highly mineralized areas.
Mr. Bell says some of the other proposed Haida protected areas now within Part 13 agreements are still being looked at to determine what kind of status to give them.
The Haida tenure, noted in the Memorandum of Understanding document signed in April 2005, is still outstanding says Minister Bell. But the baseline cut mentioned above has taken the 120,000 m3 offer into account.
An initial set of principles for eco-system based management is included in the document. He says these are similar to the principles being used on the North and Central Coast, but there is still analysis to be done on whether they meet the needs of the islands.
Mr. Bell says, all in all, the views of the CHN and the province have come together.
“I think we have found a place that can sustain the economy on the islands for the long term,” he said.
But he notes that all islanders will have to work together if this is really going to happen.
Minister Bell plans to be on the islands in early to mid-July for a series of public presentations of the latest draft of the Land Use Plan.
“We started out with detailed community consultations, went to government to government and now that we are in a different place, we’re going back to the community,” he says.
The Observer was unable to reach the CHN president Guujaaw for comment before going to press.
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