Although forestry drives the regional economy, Lake Babine Nation (LBN) holds only four per cent of the harvesting rights in its territory, according to Chief Wilf Adam.
“I have spent my life watching logging truck after logging truck drive the logs and profits out of our territory, for the benefit of others,” said Chief Adam. “This is simply unacceptable.”
Lake Babine Nation’s council recently told representatives of the major forestry licensees that the status quo needs to change.
Last week, LBN council hosted a meeting with representatives of the main forestry companies operating in its territory to communicate LBN’s plan to increase its role in the forestry sector.
The council stressed that a willingness by the major forestry licensees to help achieve this change will ensure a smoother transition and more certainty for the industry’s stakeholders, and that a “collaborative approach is much preferable to the alternative of litigation.”
“The entire LBN council urged industry representatives to work collaboratively with their nation to increase LBN’s share of the harvesting activity and build successful business partnership with LBN,” says a LBN press release.
Council met with representatives of Canfor, West Fraser, Hampton Affiliates, Dunkley Lumber and B.C. Timber Sales.
According to Chief Adam, industry representatives were “generally receptive” to LBN’s message, and have agreed to begin exploring options for increasing LBN’s harvesting opportunities and other forestry activities.
The LBN council also stressed their commitment to supporting the local mills and fostering the long-term success of forestry.
“LBN looks forward to making progress on these matters and developing strong working relationships with B.C. Timber Sales and the licensees over the coming months,” says the press release.
In addition, LBN is currently in negotiations with the provincial government to have an annual allowable cut of 250,000 cubit metres.
“That is a start,” said Chief Adam. “We hold Aboriginal title to our territory, and we are entitled to participate meaningfully in the most important economic activity that takes place on our lands.”