Provincial study may be a glimpse into the future

  • Jun. 1, 2006 5:00 a.m.

The province has just made public a study that outlines how the economic and environmental future of the islands could differ under the two viewpoints of the land use planning process, which ended its community meetings last spring.
The new report was made public Thursday June 1. Titled “Socio-Economic and Environmental Assessment of Haida Gwaii/QCI Land Use Viewpoints”, it compares four possibilities for the islands; current management (what is now allowed), current reality (actual logging cut level and protected areas), Land Use Plan (LUP) Viewpoint 1 and LUP Viewpoint 2.
The study concludes, in outline, as follows;

Current management
This allows up to 1.8-million cubic metres of timber to be harvested, employing 730 islanders per year. It protects, under all designations, 32-percent of the forest from timber harvesting. Implemented fully, it could add 705 people to the population here, an increase of 13-percent.

Current reality
This now sees 1.14-million cubic metres of timber being harvested each year, employing 445 islanders. Approximately 53-percent of the land base is off-limits to logging, at least temporarily, as the 14 Haida Protected Areas are protected.

LUP Viewpoint 1
If adopted, this could result in 1.6-million cubic metres harvested each year for the first decade, employing 620 islanders. It protects 58-percent of the forest from harvesting. As well, the non-timber forests products and adventure tourism sectors would grow.
If adopted, the population of the islands could increase by 440 people, or 8-percent.

LUP Viewpoint 2
This puts more emphasis on conservation and would allow 549,000 cubic metres of timber to be harvested in decade 1, employing 215 islanders. Under this viewpoint, 83-percent of the forest would be protected from logging. The non-timber forests products and adventure tourism sectors could grow as under LUP 1.
If adopted, the population of the islands would decline by 565 people, or 11-percent.
The study concludes that both LUP 1 and LUP 2 better facilitate ecological integrity and the Haida Land Use Vision (HLUV) that the other two scenarios. It also says that LUP 2 provides a stronger reflection of that vision, and provides less risk to ecological values than LUP 1.
However, LUP 2 means more risk to the economic well-being of the islands and to community sustainability. In fact, under LUP 2, the study says Port Clements would be negatively impacted, as would Sandspit to a lesser degree.
“Placing half the current forest industry jobs held by local residents at risk under LUP Viewpoint 2 indicates a high-risk scenario from a community stability perspective that could exacerbate the economic hardship currently experienced by HG/QCI communities,” the study says.
It also says that the Haida Nation should benefit from either LUP 1 or LUP 2, but the”LUP Viewpoint 2 fully addresses important values cited by the Haida Land Use Vision except beachesÂ….LUP Viewpoint 1 is likely to lead to a higher level of industrial activity and local employment, in which Haida people can participate, than LUP Viewpoint 2.”
On the environmental side, both LUP 1 and LUP 2 “better facilitate ecological integrity and the Haida Land Use Vision than either the Current Management or Current Reality scenario,” the report says.
The study was initiated by the province to inform government decision-making and the public at large, and is not endorsed by the Council of the Haida Nation.
“In fact, the CHN disagrees with much of the analysis,” Gord Enemark, Project Direct of the Integrated Land Management Bureau said. He noted others might disagree as well, and said the document is a forecast and therefore subject to uncertainties. But it was undertaken “for purposes of the government’s “due diligence”, he said.
The full report is available at
http://ilmbwww.gov.bc.ca/ilmb/lup/lrmp/coast/qci/landuseplanrec.htm

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