Land use plan still under negotiation

  • Sep. 26, 2007 4:00 p.m.

By Heather Ramsay-The problem is not the land use plan, it is past logging practices, Guujaaw told Vancouver Sun readers on Sept. 19. The Haida Nation president was responding to concerns raised by forest companies that the land use plan, as written, will saddle companies with extra costs while they try to access an increasingly fragmented land base. The land use plan is an agreement now being negotiated between the province and the Haida Nation. It was initialled in May but has not yet been signed by the two parties. Guujaaw referred to a report prepared by representatives from the province and the CHN, which assessed whether the 800,000 cubic metre allowable annual cut referred to in the plan could be met when all the protected areas, ecosystem based management principles and cultural and heritage objectives were taken into account. According to the Vancouver Sun, the report concludes that 800,000 cubic metres per year may be physically feasible, but is not economically feasible. The report has not yet been released. That is all a matter of interpretation, said Queen Charlotte resident John Broadhead, who wrote about the “falldown effect” in a letter in last week’s Observer. He said islanders are at a crossroads, thanks to the high pace of logging in the last few decades and according to him, the old growth will run out, no matter what the allowable annual cut is. “Is the last of the high value old growth going to be shipped off in barges, or are the communities going to have a chance to build something out of our forests?” he asked. Mr. Broadhead suggested that rather than ship high quality logs off whole, islanders should look towards Japan, where high-efficiency mills create specialty products like posts and beams for Shinto shrines. “We need to get one of those mills here on Haida Gwaii,” he said and suggested that a trade mission to Japan might be a starting point. The Observer was not been able to obtain a copy of the report, nor were various calls to provincial and Haida representatives returned by our deadline.