Collaborative forestry planning process underway

Letter. (File photo)

Editor:

After some hard work from dedicated community members the Lakes Timber Supply Area (TSA) was designated by Premier John Horgan as one of the three forestry coalitions in the Province.

These three TSAs’ were selected as a result of a request from the premier inviting industry, local forestry companies, Indigenous leaders, community leaders, labour and local government to engage in a collaborative planning approach for their timber supply areas.

This process to become a coalition was a smooth transition from the already strongly established Lakes Timber Supply Area stakeholder group that was created in the region back in early 2018 to address the Annual Allowable Cut (AAC) determination. This group has been working closely together on ideas and solutions designed to minimize the impacts of our ever-changing forests and has been meeting with government.

The invite from the premier, where he stated to formally establish a coalition to work towards “developing an inclusive, viable and implementable TSA-level vision for industry competitiveness and community economic stability” is a great step in working more closely with the government on the many forestry related initiatives currently going on in the province.

The premier has requested that rather than a top-down solution, that the Lakes TSA Coalition brings recommendations & local solutions on what would work best in our forestry region back to the government.

A terms of reference is completed and communications plan with a breakdown methodology is underway with the 40 plus coalition members breaking into different smaller working groups to better tackle the different initiatives and develop suggested solutions. The working groups then bring the comprehensive lists back to the coalition as a whole, which is then summarized into the recommendations to present to the government as requested.

The opportunity to rejuvenate collaborative landscape level forest management approaches that balance environment, social and cultural values while optimizing timber supply, industry competitiveness and economic benefits is very timely and exciting to the Lakes TSA Coalition. We are working on solutions to help keep our local mills in the region operational in light of the significant reduction in the AAC, and in turn keep our communities flourishing.

We may not be able to find all the solutions, but every little bit may be the difference in our mills being able to continue to operate so we will proceed to work hard.

Cindy Shelford

Coalition organizer and facilitator

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