Moresby Island group also worried about land use agreement

  • Jul. 13, 2007 1:00 p.m.

by Alex Rinfret–The Moresby Island Management Committee says it shares Port Clements’s worries about the strategic land use agreement now being considered by the provincial government and the Council of the Haida Nation. The management committee voted Wednesday (July 11) to have chair Gail Henry write a letter to Lands Minister Pat Bell and Forests Minister Rich Coleman explaining Sandspit’s concerns about the agreement. Ms Henry will write the letter and circulate it to all committee members. Mr. Bell is coming to the islands next week, and the management committee will give him the letter when it meets with him the afternoon of July 23, members decided. Earlier this month, Port Clements council said the agreement, which has been initialled but not signed, may result in less jobs and less economic opportunities on the islands. “Those concerns are largely our concerns,” committee member Bill Quaas said. Management committee members said the provincial government is supposed to represent the interests of non-Haida islanders in this matter, and that it’s important to let the government representatives know their opinion as an island community. Mr. Quaas said the land use agreement makes references to planning work, analysis and monitoring being needed, and said Sandspit should try to secure some of those potential jobs. “If this is going to happen, can we get on that gravy train?” he asked. “We could get 30, 40, 50 government jobs in this community to study ourselves.” The land use agreement document is available on the internet (just google “Haida Gwaii Strategic Land Use Agreement” to find it). It was reached after a lengthy strategic land use planning process, and establishes new protected areas on the islands, commits to using ecosystem-based management objectives in forest planning and harvesting, and reduces the annual timber harvest to a minimum of 800,000 cubic metres.