Meetings try to end to three-week old protest

  • Apr. 13, 2005 2:00 p.m.

Meetings have been underway to try to find a resolution to the protest, now three weeks old, but as posted this Wednesday, details were hard to come by and an end to the checkpoints was not likely immediately.

What we are able to confirm is as follows;

o talks, negotiations or ‘quiet conversations’ as they’ve been called, are underway between the Haida, the province and the logging industry. CHN spokesman Gilbert Parnell told the Observer Tuesday afternoon that “all the parties are working towards a speedy resolution of the issue,” although he offered no further information. As well, Islands Bulletin No. 12, which is on the CHN website, says “Â…we are working to a speedy solution so that the disruption we are experiencing will be as short as possible and we can get on with the work of making this Island sustainable.”

o At a public meeting in Sandspit Monday night, residents there heard a report of talks underway in Vancouver and Nanaimo last week. Dale Morgan, a forester with Teal Jones told the group that on Saturday, industry, along with Haida and other observers, were presented with a plan to remove more than 200,000 hectares of land from timber harvest areas.
Known as Haida Protected Areas, these areas are spread throughout the islands and account for 20-percent of the islands.
Other areas still on the table and which may yet come out of the cut are those identified in the Haida Land Use Vision with important archaeological and cultural cedar values, according to Mr. Morgan.
The land would be removed from all timber harvest licenses under the authority of Part 13 of the Forest Act for a maximum period of 10 years during which time further planning decisions are to be made.
Mr. Morgan says on the central coast, where similar deferments on logging were made, some areas are now proposed parks, some are back in the harvest and some have been designated first nation management zones.
Under the legislation there is no compensation to logging companies for four years. Compensation for communities or workers is not covered under the Act.
Mr. Morgan says industry has known about the potential for Haida Protected Areas to be removed from the operable land base but said he, and others such as representatives from Weyerhaeuser and Husby were surprised to see the cultural and archaeological cedar maps on the table.
Whether this plan, discussed Saturday, will form the basis of an agreement that will see the checkpoints removed and the protest ended is not clear. And Vivian Thomas of the Ministry of Forests would neither confirm or deny any offer being made. She admits there have been discussions, but says the government won’t comment until a decision has been reached.
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