Forest Survey Results Confirm Need for

Better Consultation

 

The NCLGA sat down with President Brian Frenkel to get his take on the survey results, outlined below in a Compass article from UBCM.

What are some key points or findings you'd like to pull out of this survey? 

The issue of lack of engagement is truly province-wide -- surveys were pulled from across B.C., and the responses spoke about the same issue. It really highlights that the process isn't working, and that each community feels the same, large or small. 79% of respondents considered their community to be forestry dependent -- that's a huge number, too. 

What did you find most surprising about the results?

I was pleasantly surprised about the number of responses NCLGA communities provided! I want to thank all our members for making our voices heard. We made up 33.8% of the surveys completed, which is a big accomplishment. It proves that forestry really is the backbone in most of our communities, and we're willing to work hard to make it profitable for not only us, but the companies in our communities too.

Are you hopeful moving forward?

Yes, truly I am. From the changes that have already been made to Forest Stewardship Plans to the Province taking another look at forest tenure holders & district managers' new guidelines, there's positive action happening already around this issue. 

I believe the NCLGA can continue to help facilitate these types of conversations around our province. By working with UBCM and other like-minded organizations, we're advocating for our members before, during, and after decisions are made that effect NCLGA communities.

Another great piece of news that came out this week was public input opened up for the Prince George Timber Supply Area. Public feedback on the recent discussion paper will be considered by the chief forester before setting the new allowable annual cut. The discussion paper provides the results of the timber supply analysis, including a base-case harvest forecast. It also describes the geography, natural resources and current forest management practices in the Prince George Timber Supply Area.

More information here.

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Results from UBCM’s forestry survey found that 85% of respondents felt that they are not adequately consulted or engaged when tenure holders make forestry decisions that will impact their communities. 

Members will recall that UBCM’s Community Economic Development Committee launched its forestry survey on December 16, 2015.  The purpose of the survey was to inform the Committee about existing communication and consultation practices between forest tenure holders and local governments, and the impact of forestry decisions upon communities.

The survey results are outlined in UBCM’s report Forest Policy Decision-Making: The Case for Greater Community Consultation and Engagement. What was learned was not surprising. In fact it confirms what our members and other organizations have been saying for years; communities need to be consulted and engaged in forest policy decision-making. A lack of community engagement and consultation has led to varied and significant consequences.

The report’s findings reiterate a call for change in how forestry decisions are made.  Local governments can be key partners in the dialogue to ensure that forestry decisions are made in a manner that: considers the communities interests, identifies environmental impacts, and other potential consequences that may result due to conflicting land uses and strategies within a specified area. 

The report and survey results have been shared with the Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations and with the members of the Ministers Advisory Council on Forests and Range Practices (PAC).  It is our hope that this report will inform future deliberations around forest policy decision-making.

UBCM wishes to thank Councillor Brian Frenkel, Vice Chair of UBCM’s Community Economic Development Committee who serves as UBCM’s PAC representative.  He has provided guidance and support as we undertook this research.  Special thanks as well to those members who completed the survey; your feedback has been invaluable in undertaking this policy work.