Nechako Lakes MLA John Rustad speaks at a forestry meeting at the Lakeside Multiplex in Burns Lake, on Aug. 26. (Submitted photo)

Public concerned about forestry, Rustad says

A range of topics and concerns related to forestry were discussed at the public gathering where Nechako Lakes MLA John Rustad spoke, on Aug. 26.

A variety of people from the forestry industry and the community attended the talk, held at the Lakeside Multiplex.

“Burns Lake is very engaged in the forestry discussion due to the pending annual allowable cut decision. People expressed concern about this,” Rustad told Lakes District News.

Some topics that arose during the discussions, such as concerns over visual quality objectives (VQO) and old growth management areas (OGMAs) aren’t necessarily new for Burns Lake residents, and have come up before at public meetings.

The problem of excessive fuels on forest floors and the fire risks they pose was brought up a few times during the meetings that the Chinook Community Forest held in the Burns Lake region since the winter.

A common theme accompanying the fuels issue is the frustration that fuels can’t easily be removed from VQO and OGMAs, where logging is prohibited.

READ MORE: Clean up the fuel, say Chinook meeting members

The Burns Lake Community Forest has been working on plans to change this situation and remove some of the fuel from certain areas.

RELATED: New fire control plans might speed up fuel removal

Also covered at the meeting was the limitations of OGMAs when it comes to forestry ecology.

“We discussed old growth management areas that are basically dead or ineffective in providing old growth biodiversity,” Rustad said.

Another topic that came up was the need for a new forestry model that allows for more efficient growth and utilization of fibre.

The Liberal MLA hopes that more such discussions are held amid the current precarious state of forestry in the province.

“There are certainly more conversations needed as our forest sector, workers and communities reel from the current crisis. We will need to see what comes from the government’s revitalization initiative. I am hopeful that it won’t be like the coastal revitalization process which basically ignored most of the input because the government had a very specific agenda,” Rustad said.

Blair McBride
Multimedia reporter
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