Timber supply review going public

It could be fall by the time the province comes to a decision about the timber supply review

Just last month Nechako Lakes MLA John Rustad said he expected the timber supply review would be competed by the end of April or early May, 2012.

However Rustad said to Lakes District News that it now could be fall by the time the province comes to a decision about the timber supply review, that will determine a rebuild of Babine Forest Products.

According to MLA John Rustad, the province has a number of options on the table, including changes to area based management, silviculture and land constraints, but he said a decision will not be made before going to the public first.

Premier Christy Clark echoed Rustad’s sentiments, making the commitment for a public consultation process at a recent North Central Local Government Association meeting.

“There is a process we must follow,” Rustad said to Lakes District News.

While he said the review process is coming along nicely he said there is still a lot of work that needs to be done around the decision.

“We need to figure out what we need to do for all of the timber supply areas that are impacted by the mountain pine beetle, if anything,” he said.

According to Rustad, if the province makes changes to the management of the lakes timber supply area, this will effect the adjacent timber supply areas and so on.

“It’s for this reason we need to take a look at the entire area effected by the mountain pine beetle and make a broader decision about what to do. Of course these decisions need to be made as quickly as possible so we are working on a tight time frame. We should be expecting a decision by the end of summer or early fall. I am not sure how things will unfold, or how we will consult the public … I expect this information will become available in the next couple of weeks.”

Rustad said all options will be on the table during the public consultations and that currently the government is not learning towards one particular option.

Just recently, Mayor Luke Strimbold, Regional District of Bulkley Nechako chair Bill Miller and Lake Babine Nation Chief Wilf Adam met with Premier Clark to discuss the timber supply review.

According to Mayor Strimbold the conversation centered around the work that the province has been doing to resolve the midterm timber supply issues that are plaguing the lakes timber supply area.

Mayor Strimbold said, “Premier Clark committed to government working with the communities to find solutions that are economical and that maintain the integrity of the environment. The province is actively working on the lakes timber supply issues.”

He added, “From the information that I have been provided, I think we have the timber available for a rebuild of Babine Forest Products. I think we can look at relaxing visual quality objectives because the trees are decaying, so we should be looking at removing them before they become a fire hazard and while they are still economically viable. I think we need to determine the long term impacts and make sure we manage our forests properly.”