Land Use Plan public meetings delayed

  • Jul. 6, 2007 1:00 p.m.

Lands Minister Pat Bell is still nailing down the dates when he will be on-island for community meetings about the Strategic Land Use Agreement, which was initialled by the province and the Haida in late May. In a telephone interview from Victoria, Mr. Bell told the Observer he was hoping to come in connection with Skidegate Days (July 19-21), but is now looking farther into July or even the early part of August. For now, a team including provincial and Haida representatives is focused on preparing a study to determine the volume of timber available as a result of draft eco-system based management objectives. Mr. Bell says there is still a lot of work to be done on what was to be a seven-week process. When complete, he says the study will determine what the land use agreement, initialed on May 28, will mean for the Allowable Annual Cut. He wants to take a good look at the objectives after evaluating the volume of timber on the islands and determine whether there is the right variety to ensure the economy remains viable. He met with community leaders and the CHN two weeks ago and said the initialled document was generally well received. He is also working closely with industry. As to whether industry is pleased or not, Minister Bell said, “They will tell you the devil is in the details.” In mid-June, two logging companies that operate on the islands-Husby and Teal Jones-said they think the initialled agreement will make it impossible to log economically on the islands.