A panel of politicians says that small scale salvage logging brings jobs and money to rural British Columbia, and is recommending 14 actions the Ministry of Forests should take to make it easier for salvage loggers to make a living.
Made up of nine Liberal MLAs, the panel travelled to more than 40 communities earlier this year, listening to salvagers, licensees and ministry staff. The committee included North Coast MLA Bill Belsey, who travelled to the islands in May and met with several small scale loggers here.
“What we’re saying is, small-scale salvage is extremely important to rural BC,” Mr. Belsey told the Observer in a telephone interview from Prince Rupert. “The small scale salvagers work locally, and they hire locally and they spend locally.”
Mr. Belsey said that policy recommendations on issues like changing the definition of salvage to include wood found in or near the ocean, and not deactivating forest roads, were spurred by what he heard here on the Charlottes.
The committee was created by Forests Minister Mike De Jong and charged with making the salvage program more efficient, and maximizing timber revenue and jobs. The committee’s report, released last week, recommends that the Ministry of Forests make several policy changes, including:
Â• raising the permitted timber harvest for small-scale operations to 2,000 cubic metres from 500.
Â• making all areas of publicly-owned land within the Working Forest, except area-based tenures, available for salvage.
Â• not including salvaged timber on a major licensee’s annual allowable cut.
Â• streamlining the permit process.
Â• keeping road deactivation activities to a minimum, and only for environmental and safety reasons.
The report has been sent to Mr. De Jong’s office. Mr. Belsey said he hopes to see the recommendations implemented by next fall.
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