Legislative Session: Fourth Session, 39th Parliament
Special Committee on Timber Supply
This is a DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY of debate in one sitting of the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia. This transcript is subject to corrections, and will be replaced by the final, official Hansard report. Use of this transcript, other than in the legislative precinct, is not protected by parliamentary privilege, and public attribution of any of the debate as transcribed here could entail legal liability.
REPORT OF PROCEEDINGS
SPECIAL COMMITTEE ON
THURSDAY, JULY 5, 2012
The committee met at 8:04 a.m.
[J. Rustad in the chair.]
J. Rustad (Chair): Good morning, everyone. We'll get started.
My name is John Rustad. I'm the MLA for Nechako Lakes. Welcome to our committee meeting of the Special Committee on Timber Supply.
At this time I'd like to start with introductions for the committee members, starting on my right.
E. Foster: Good morning. I'm Eric Foster. I am the MLA for Vernon-Monashee.
D. Barnett: Good morning. I'm Donna Barnett. I'm the MLA for the Cariboo-Chilcotin.
B. Stewart: Good morning. I'm Ben Stewart, the MLA for Westside-Kelowna.
N. Macdonald (Deputy Chair): Good morning. My name is Norm Macdonald, and I'm the MLA for Columbia River–Revelstoke.
B. Routley: Good morning. Bill Routley, MLA for the Cowichan Valley.
J. Rustad (Chair): Also with us today we have our two special advisers that were appointed to the committee — former chief foresters Larry Pedersen and Jim Snetsinger. Beside me here is Susan Sourial. Susan is our Committee Clerk and travelling with us this week.
As well, everything that the committee does through this process is recorded by Hansard and is broadcast live as well as becomes a record of the province. So with us today are Hansard staff Michael Baer and Jean Medland.
First of all, I want to start by thanking everybody for coming out today. The process that the committee is going through is that it was appointed in May. It has been appointed with a mandate to look at the mid-term fibre supply, in particular the impact from the mountain pine beetle epidemic and what could potentially be done to mitigate that impact. The potential across the entire area….
We're travelling between Smithers all the way out to Valemount and then from 100 Mile House this week up to Prince George. Next week we've got meetings in Vancouver as well as doing meetings in Kamloops and Merritt. The impact across that area, as anticipated from the pine beetle epidemic at this point, is to be a drop of the annual allowable cut of about ten million cubic metres, which is quite significant. That's about enough wood to feed eight reasonably sized mills.
What we have been tasked with is to look at: is there anything we can potentially do to minimize that impact? What we are doing through a public consultation process is going into individual communities. We're meeting with mayors and councils, meeting with First Nations, and then we have an opportunity for public input as well.
In addition to that, there is an opportunity to present to the committee through a written format, whether it's through e-mail or otherwise, up until July 20. People can find the information and the process for submitting information to us on our website, which is www.leg.bc.ca/timbercommittee.
Through this consultation process we've asked a number of questions that we're hoping presenters will be able to provide us some information on. They are: what values and principles should guide decision-making regarding potential actions to mitigate the timber supply impacts? What specific information about your local area should the committee know and consider? And what cautions and advice do you have for the committee in considering whether and how to mitigate the mid-term timber supply?
The process that we'll be going through today is starting with a round table or a discussion, I guess you could say, with the mayor and council in the community. We'll have about half an hour or so for that. Then we'll take a quick break. We'll have an opportunity to have a discussion with the First Nations, take another quick break, and then we will go into the public consultation process.
At this time I'd like to invite Mayor Mitch Campsall as well as Coun. Bill Hadden — and anybody else that might be with you, Mitch — up to the chair.
M. Campsall: I'll just open up and say thank you for the invitation and for being able to speak here today. I'm going to have Bill Hadden, who is a forester and actually knows his business a heck of a lot better than I do…. It would be a mistake if I took this over, so I'm going to hand it over to Bill Hadden.
B. Hadden: Thanks, Mitch. A bit of a correction. I'm not a forester; I'm a forest technician. There's a bit of a legal issue there.
With that, I'd like to thank the panel for coming out to the communities and providing the opportunity for local people, who are directly affected by your decision, to provide meaningful input into the mid-term timber supply review.
Like other communities in the province, our community has a long economic history rooted in the forest industry. As such, we anticipate that a forestry-based economy in one fashion or another will continue to play a key role in our community's future over the short, medium and long term. Employment in small and medium-sized businesses are successful…. Our ability to attract new residents, retain current residents and the district's ability to maintain service levels are all tied to the success of our largest employer.
The two major players in our community, West Fraser and Ainsworth, employ about 525 local residents. They indirectly employ another 350 residents in forestry-related jobs. They contribute some $130 million into the local economy. These two businesses alone make up 35 percent of the district's tax base. Together they process about 2.75 million cubic metres of fibre annually. The projected long-term AAC is about 680,000 cubic metres.
The impact of this decision has the potential to cripple the local economy. Young families will move away, businesses will close, and local services will be reduced or eliminated. The decisions that this government has to make are difficult, to say the least.
Over the years the district has worked hard to diversify the local economy. MLA Barnett can readily attest to the district's involvement with CCBAC, which started right from the beginning and has continued to the present. We have actively participated in the economic development working group as well as held continuous board memberships throughout the lifespan of CCBAC.
This commitment to economic diversification is a continual challenge and an ongoing mandate for the district of 100 Mile House. We understand the economic, social and environmental challenges that are ahead of us due to the mountain pine beetle epidemic.
Currently West Fraser, through their two plants, consumes about 2.1 million cubic metres. With that, they have a direct employment of 365 and indirect employment of about 200. They have an annual expenditure in wages, goods and services of about $93 million.
Ainsworth consumes about 650,000 cubic metres. They have a direct employment of about 160, an indirect employment of 150, and they contribute $40 million. Combined, it's $133 million of economic activity locally.
The panel has laid out five discussion points for the respondents. It's important to note that there are limitations in responding to the ministry discussion papers, which include, but are not limited to, the time provided to prepare a comment; scientific expertise, which is somewhat limited for providing technical comment; and factors to consider which are outside the range of local government.
The district is also aware, from reviewing Hansard from the committee's visits to other areas, that our concerns are very similar in nature. You do not have an easy task ahead of you.
It doesn't take a genius to realize that a global reduction of some ten million cubic metres for fibre supply in the province equates to the downsizing or elimination of approximately seven to nine mills. How these impacts are mitigated with equitable distribution of the associated economic pain is key to your task, I would think. We don't envy you.
What values and principles should guide the evaluation and decision-making regarding potential actions to mitigate the timber supply impacts? We believe that balance and fairness are key issues in the decision-making process. From a district perspective, we view the highest priority to be that of community economic stability. Decisions should be weighted toward identifying efficiencies within forest management practices, as well as improvements to growth and yield components, as much as possible. Increasing intensive silviculture has obvious long-term benefits and may help offset loss production in harvesting jobs over the short term.
The district of 100 Mile House would not support large-scale changes to the Cariboo-Chilcotin land use plan. Measures to relax Cariboo-Chilcotin land use plan objectives are not favoured, given your potential to have lasting and irreversible impacts. Environmental values should not be eroded. Long-term economic, environmental and social stability, including sustainability of the timber resource itself, should be paramount in the decision-making process. Decisions should be fact-based, grounded in science and seek to address long-term, future-oriented thinking.
We also encourage creation of incentives to improve residual harvest and otherwise maximize fibre usage. The district supports policies which would encourage industry partnerships and cooperation. Value-added industry expansion would significantly improve overall profits and help offset reduced timber values.
It is imperative that every consideration be made to ensure that all non-sawlog, peeler and house-log log fibre is utilized. Residual fibre should be directed toward the local OSB plant. We have a plant that does not compete with sawmills. Every effort should be made to ensure the long-term viability of this plant.
Provincial funding supports would help offset local mill lost jobs. It would address interim local government revenue reductions and enable communities to transition into a new economic reality. All decisions need to be adequately funded and otherwise resourced.
How should decisions regarding potential actions to mitigate the timber supply impacts be made and by whom? We feel that the provincial government should make the resource use decisions in close consultation with local governments and local ministry staff. Regional policy should be explored to address the uniqueness of each TSA, timber supply area, and at minimum, local ministry staff should be utilized extensively for implementation of decisions and for identifying local priorities.
What specific information about your local area would you like your committee to know? Well, 100 Mile House has a strong recreation and tourism focus that is not only crucial to our tourism but a vital component of our attraction and retention success. This trickles down to physician recruitment, small business success and our economic success in general. The effect that timber supply–increase decisions may have on local priorities such as this needs to be respected.
As well, the locale has a strong association with agriculture and ranching, which have historically had a strong presence in the South Cariboo. This sector has also experienced a challenging outlook in these past few years. While the non-renewable resource sector — mining, in particular — holds promise, it's unlikely that the South Cariboo will see major benefit from this over the short term. We remain hopeful on this. This area of development will serve our area well in the years to come.
The district of 100 Mile House has a working woodlot that plays host to cross-country ski trails, a snowmobile trail network, an interpretive walking trail network and a mountain bike trail network. As well, 100 Mile House has an operating community forest.
Our ability to manage the timber resource at a local level is proving to be quite successful and may help inform the larger timber supply discussion. Allowing local control of the timber resource provides opportunities to work with smaller-scale operators, which is also an important part of our local economic mix. These are area-based licences outside of the annual allowable cut contribution from volume-based tenures. Combined, woodlots, community forests and First Nations woodland licences will contribute about an extra 60,000 cubic metres to our local available volume.
What cautions and advice do you have for this committee in considering whether and how to mitigate mid-term timber supply? Any decisions will impact communities and people now and into the future. Balancing the present timber supply and economic, environmental and social pressures with future needs is a challenge that should serve as a key speaking point as the decision-making process evolves.
The role of market forces. Environmental constraints should not be reduced. As well, private lands should be inventoried. A funding program should be initiated for basic silviculture. Currently, much of the private land that has been affected by the mountain pine beetle epidemic is NSR, non-sufficiently restocked, and does not contribute to the annual allowable cut.
How would you as an individual or a community want to be engaged in these considerations going forward? The district of 100 Mile House sees engagement as a frequent and ongoing consultation in order to fully participate in the decisions that have direct and indirect financial, social and environmental impacts for our community.
The district also believes strongly that the panel, the government, must listen to and heed the advice of the professional staff that you hire to oversee forest management. We as politicians at any level of government cannot pretend to know everything. We can't simply pay lip service to the very people we hire to give us advice. This isn't simply a political decision you're making; these are life-changing decisions. Please make them with the best available information and advice from all sectors of the industry.
J. Rustad (Chair): Thank you very much. With that, I'll open it up to questions.
D. Barnett: Thank you, Billy. What is your opinion on area-based tenures?
B. Hadden: Well, thanks. They have a place. I do believe they have a place. I think going with our status quo tenures perhaps isn't the best move, because we have other values in there. Traditionally, I believe, area-based tenures gave you control of all the timber rights within that, but we have different plans for different usages now.
Really, I think they're a good thing. It gives companies the opportunity to invest in roads and transportation systems. It gives them the opportunity to practise intensive silviculture and reap the benefits 60 or 70 years down the road. However, we still need to diversify where that end fibre goes, to which end-fibre plants. I think they have value, but I think we need to tweak it a bit.
B. Routley: In regard to your position on environmental areas, that was kind of a sweeping statement. I wondered if you had any ideas about options on, for example, visual-quality areas — you know, the VQOs.
There is the ability now to move some of that around, but I wondered if you had a position on that as well. Or is it the same as the…? I mean, obviously there's old growth, and there are the areas of concern to wildlife. Those issues are…. I don't know if you can grade them, so to speak, but they obviously become critical for wildlife.
The old growth is a little more difficult. As a coastal guy, I find it a little more difficult to figure out what's old growth here. I was actually surprised. I told somebody the other day: "I look forward to telling the folks back on the coast that you can actually move old growth around here." I've discovered there was transitional old growth as well as old-growth areas. Anyway, that was a fascinating feature of the tour yesterday.
But anyway, back to…. Should we be looking at anything, or just leave it alone? Just don't do anything — is that basically what you're saying?
B. Hadden: You actually have two questions — visual-quality objectives and old-growth management areas. Visual-quality objectives are generally quite specific. If you have a resort owner that has a lake and they want the other side of the lake protected, we could log it. Sure. Does it affect their operations? Absolutely. Can there be accommodations made? Perhaps you should be best looking at that on a site-by-site issue.
You have other VQOs that are…. Driving down Highway 97. For years you never laid out a cutblock next to Highway 97. Now it's quite common, and I don't think people have an issue with it.
Again, it depends on what your other issues are. If you have a visual-quality objective that's going to end up with a 20-foot layer of dead pine criss-crossing, it would be an absolutely horrific fire potential. Perhaps you should be looking at that.
Old-growth management areas. When they were set up, our forests were still green. Some of our old-growth management areas are still viable. They are well done. They are true old growth. There's an acronym out here called a DOGMA — it's a dead old-growth management area. I think there's the opportunity to look at OGMAs on a site-by-site basis rather than having a sweeping issue. There are some OGMAs that really don't function any more.
E. Foster: Thanks, gentlemen. Bill, I'll go back to the OGMAs. There is an argument that will be made that in an old-growth management area, even if the timber is dead and falling down, it still has scientific value. I bring this up because we've certainly heard it in a lot of other communities. It's not just the timber value; there are the other resource values.
Just to let everybody know, I came out of the harvesting industry before I was in provincial politics. There is a value there, too, that we've been asked to make sure we keep in the mix, as well as just the timber value.
B. Hadden: Absolutely, and you are correct. But unfortunately, we have OGMAs that are within three kilometres of major population centres. Again, to get back to my comment of: they should be addressed on a site-by-site basis. You keep it as an OGMA and have a fire hazard potential that could be devastating to a group of 200 or 300 or 500 people, or do you address it?
I think there's the opportunity to do both, actually. The ones that are out in the middle of a working forest that don't endanger people or property — you could probably leave that. I think the opportunity is there to have a land base that's large enough to have — what would it be called? — a scientific basis, statistically. I think that's achievable as well.
N. Macdonald (Deputy Chair): How big is the community forest? What cubic metres do you take off each year?
B. Hadden: Right now our gross area is 20,000 hectares, and we have a working area of about 10,000 hectares. We have an accelerated cut right now to deal with mountain pine beetle–affected stands. We actually are doing that. We think that by the end of this year, we could address most if not all of the stands that are going to be contentious.
N. Macdonald (Deputy Chair): Okay. And that's owned by the district?
B. Hadden: Yes, it is.
N. Macdonald (Deputy Chair): I guess, also, what you've said very clearly is respect for the existing Cariboo-Chilcotin land use plan — making sure that any changes are made in the same way, which we've heard in a lot of communities that base decisions in the communities and things like this.
You're saying that pretty clearly, too — aren't you?
B. Hadden: We are. I was a part of the Cariboo-Chilcotin round table back in the early '90s. When that decision was made, in theory, it was a bit flawed — okay? — and we knew it. Everybody knew it at the time. That plan was formulated on a green forest, and we don't have a green forest anymore.
But a lot of the decisions were made on other values. If we open it up, there are two things. If we harvest those values to their maximum, are we going to have impacts on mountain caribou? That's really a big one. Are we going to have impacts on mule deer? Are we going to have impacts on badgers, spadefoot toad? These are all animals that are red-listed that live around here. We have to recognize that fact.
Second thing. If we open it up, we have to have sign-off by all stakeholders. I suspect you won't get sign-off this time. Twenty-five years ago we did. Different environment at the time. I don't think you'll get it this time.
E. Foster: Just one more question. Back to your community forest. What's your volume pre-uplift, and what do you anticipate it'll be after the uplift is harvested?
B. Hadden: I would hesitate to comment on what it's going to be after. We don't know that fact yet. We will do a timber supply inventory when we're done.
E. Foster: Pre the uplift. What was your original?
B. Hadden: We were about 8,000 cubic metres.
B. Stewart: Thanks, Bill. That was obviously very knowledgable, experienced insight into what the forest industry is kind of looking like today. I guess the question that we're really here to answer is….
You started off talking about the importance of both West Fraser and Ainsworth in the OSB operations here. Now, the reality is that there is an adjustment on the annual allowable cut that we have to deal with. We're looking at alternatives. In your viewpoint, what are your solutions, if you have any?
B. Hadden: You know what? That's a good question. I wish somebody else had to answer it.
Some Voices: We do.
B. Hadden: It's going to have an impact on us. With West Fraser, they have their Kamloops licences that they're going to be pulling volume up with. I'm not inclined to suggest that we should interfere in some respects with the private market. You have two operations that, in theory, compete for very different fibre. Perhaps there could be direction to maybe work together a bit more. I don't know.
With our current licensing system, it's very difficult to direct a forest licence holder to make volume available. That's my understanding. Is there an opportunity for residual volume? I believe that there is. There just has to be a degree of cooperation.
M. Campsall: If I could add to it. We also have the fact that there's a lot of fibre being left in our bush. The access to that fibre is very difficult. I know there was an announcement last week that helped out towards that, but it's just a very small step.
You only had to go the 108 and see the fibre that's sitting in about four or five big piles — huge fibre that's just being left there. That's kind of showing what's being left out in the bush as well.
There's a huge amount of fibre that could be utilized, but it's really hard. It's not as accessible as it may sound. We're burning up fibre that should be utilized, and it's not being utilized.
I don't know how. I'm not a forester, and I don't understand exactly the formulas, but somehow that fibre has got to be brought into the community, brought into places like Ainsworth and pellet plants. It's there. It's available. There's enough out there to keep Ainsworth Lumber running, but it's being burnt and not being utilized. That's almost like a crime for a forest.
J. Rustad (Chair): Any other questions?
B. Hadden: I actually have the luxury of having a woodlot licence. We've been through this cycle. We were very aggressive on it in the early years of this pine beetle epidemic. We've actually just started harvesting again.
One of the things…. Because we're a small tenure and very slow in our harvesting, we have the luxury of filling every conceivable product that we can get. Right now we're taking our peelers, our house logs, our sawlogs out, and we're also taking our OSB component down to a two-inch top.
We're doing it primarily to see exactly what's out there in a green forest. My woodlot is actually very representative of what we're going to have left. So at the end of the day, if I've logged 1,000 cubic metres, I'm going to have a pretty good breakdown of what's available in terms of residual volumes in a green stand. For my own knowledge, I guess I'm going to have a bit of an insight into what we're going to be able to do.
Now, I know there's been a bit of controversy around the pulp agreements, and it's been reiterated, I believe, that they're not going to be forthcoming. I understand the mechanics behind it, but the basic fact is that there was a volume out there that was not being utilized by sawmills. Surely we can find a way to make that volume available under some kind of licensing. That's something that the government can do.
J. Rustad (Chair): I'll go next. Eric and I actually sat on a committee on bioeconomy that looked at that very issue around the whole fibre thing, and it was one of the recommendations that came out of that committee work as well, in terms of how to make that fibre available.
Earlier you were asked by Donna about the area-based management. I guess what I'm hearing is that on a woodlot licence you have far more flexibility to be able to…. Because it's small, but also because it's area-based, you can maximize the types of products that you can produce off of that.
Do you think there's potential, whether it's in the community forests or whether it's in other types of licences out to various licensees, by moving away from a volume-based system, to be able to solve that issue — to be able to maximize the type of fibre that you could access off of the land base?
B. Hadden: Absolutely. You could do it very simply by manipulating your crop species. If you have a tree farm licence and you are projecting you're going to have a sawlog or a peeler component that you need — and it depends who the licence holder is — you could also incorporate hybrid aspen near hybrid poplar in there quite easily. So yes, I think there is an opportunity within an area-based tenure to do that.
N. Macdonald (Deputy Chair): Just the value-added component of the community. Could you give us a sense of what's out there in terms of some of the value added?
B. Hadden: Okay. I can. Currently we've got quite a few small value-added folks. We've got a lot of log home builders that use a very small component of our timber profile. They have very specific needs. We currently have a fellow that's been cutting shakes here. His father cut shakes here. They're probably 50 or 60 years into it. They import most of their shake bolts, but it is here. It is located in 100 Mile House.
We have a small plant up on Highway 24. They buy and they reman lumber and make garden sheds and all sorts of stuff. It's been around for 25 or 30 years.
We have a very small sawmill up on Exeter Road. They've been in existence for 25 years. They make specialty cuts. They make some flooring. I'm not sure what their employment is — probably five or seven people. But I think they only cut 5,000 cubic metres a year. That's a pretty good return on your volume.
There are more, but that's just a bit of a broad cross-section.
J. Rustad (Chair): Any other questions?
Anything else you'd like to add?
B. Hadden: No, I think we're….
J. Rustad (Chair): Thank you very much for taking some time and putting together some information for us, for the committee. It's much appreciated.
The committee will take a brief recess while we set up for our next presenters.
The committee recessed from 8:34 a.m. to 8:53 a.m.
[J. Rustad in the chair.]
J. Rustad (Chair): Thank you all, once again, for attending and for coming to the committee meeting. We are going to go to our next presenters, which are the First Nations in the area. For the Canim Lake band, we have Don Dixon and John Kalmikoff.
I'd like to turn it over to you for the presentation.
D. Dixon: Thank you. Good morning. These are our comments about the mid-term timber supply review report.
Currently the Canim Lake band feel we've been treated like a stakeholder, not as an aboriginal people. We are in the treaty process here with unresolved aboriginal rights. We feel that there were other groups that were invited to present to the special committee here, and then we were not. But here we are.
A little bit of background. Our band, Canim Lake band, is heavily invested with the local forest industry here in 100 Mile TSA. We have band members who work at the local sawmill. We're in trucking, logging and in silviculture. The Canim Lake band itself owns a logging company that we feel requires about 100,000 metres of wood a year.
Our band also has a forest management company that manages 23,000 metres of AAC. Through treaty and other related processes, the band aspires to become a much larger licensee. Forestry is one of the main economic drivers for our community of the Canim Lake band.
We feel the Mid-Term Timber Supply Report appears to be one of the key inputs for consideration by the Special Committee on Timber Supply and by the public. That's produced by the Crown. John has a copy up here, but we've seen that report there. We believe there are some challenges, and there's some other stuff in the report that we feel, from our perception, is flawed.
It presents three scenarios, and all three make the assumption that the current AAC of two million cubic metres can and should be maintained for ten years. After making this assumption that we should harvest two million cubic metres for ten years, the report focuses on how, by the tearing apart of the CCLUP, the problems that will occur in ten years might be mitigated.
We do not believe that the problem is ten years in the future. It's now.
We do not believe there are ten to 20 million cubic metres of viable beetle wood left in the 100 Mile House land base. We believe that maintaining the current cut level of two million cubic metres a year was a political decision, motivated by hope that if we keep the forest industry going for a few more years, by then mining will be able to replace forestry as a primary employer and profit generator in this area.
We believe that this two-million-for-ten-years assumption will result in the harvesting of a significant amount of green, younger wood at levels that, we believe, are not sustainable.
We believe that much of the available-for-harvest beetle wood exists on the computer model but not in the bush. For example, we have smaller-diameter dead pine stands on steep, rocky slopes that are not viable, and we have seen this in our forest licence. The wood is there, but it's not economically viable to harvest at this time under this regime here, for the stumpage and that.
We would expect that once we are through the pine beetle epidemic, the cut would drop to a pre-beetle level or lower. We believe that it will require only two or three years for 100 Mile House to be effectively through the epidemic, and we believe that the AAC should start ramping down now.
Under "Mountain pine beetle forecast" on page 4 of the report it states that the model used for this analysis assumes that "41.7 million cubic metres of mature pine…would be killed by 2024, or 72 percent of the mature pine on the timber-harvesting land base as of 1999." We would like to point out that virtually 100 percent of the mature pine in 100 Mile is dead and has been dead for a number of years.
The pine stands are now physically collapsing. And once on the ground, the wood decays more rapidly. Recognizing this reality may significantly impact the shelf-life component of the analysis.
In summary, the report leads the reader to assume the problem is ten years away, when it is actually imminent. The political strategy will result in unsustainable harvest rates in green timber, simply pushing today's problem three to five years into the future.
A couple of comments on the CCLUP. The CCLUP was created before the pine beetle epidemic. It was a multi-participant process. We believe it is a good first attempt to define sustainable forest management for this area. It needs to be updated, not abandoned or destroyed.
There are a good many opportunities within CCLUP to increase access to timber. For example, large tracts of land are in mule deer winter range. The logging rules associated with these ranges are so restrictive that they're virtually parks. This was not the original intent.
Visually sensitive areas were defined without the aid of 3-D computer models. Such models are now available and may reduce the amount of visible area from selected viewpoints. We believe that, given the opportunity, local people with local government can update the CCLUP in a manner that will produce a sustainable forest industry. The Canim Lake Band would like to participate in this process.
I have a comment on our aboriginal rights and title. Increased harvest levels due to pine beetle have already had significant negative impacts on our aboriginal rights. Due to pine beetle, we have accepted this as necessary in the short term. However, once the pine beetle wood is used up, we expect the cut to drop back immediately to a sustainable level. Before the pine beetle epidemic this was about 1.3 million cubic metres per year.
Maintaining the accelerated cut level beyond a viable supply of beetle wood will further erode the watersheds, water quality, fish habitat and the amount and abundance of wildlife. It will, therefore, have a significant, negative impact on our rights and title. We are, therefore, opposed to any accelerated harvest levels that extend beyond the pine beetle epidemic.
In conclusion, the Canim Lake Band requires full consultation on any changes to the CCLUP and on the final timber supply analysis for all districts that overlap our traditional territory. It's not only the 100 Mile TSA, but our territory expands beyond that. To date we have not been fully consulted on these matters.
J. Rustad (Chair): Thank you very much. I just would like to remind people that, as they come in, we have Jacqueline Quesnel at the back to register with — just to make sure that everybody check in with them if they're going to be doing presentations.
I'd also like to apologize if you did not receive an invitation. That was certainly not our intent. It was unfortunate that that did happen, but I'm very glad that you're here and presenting.
Chief Mike Archie, thank you for joining us. I'd like to turn it over to you — and John, if you want to add any additional comments.
J. Kalmikoff: I don't have any additional comments. I think it's all in the report.
M. Archie: [Secwepemctsin was spoken.]
Good morning. Chief Mike Archie from Canim Lake. I apologize for being a few minutes late this morning. I really appreciate the opportunity to come in and express our concerns and try to move a process forward, where in the last while we've talked about the timber supply area within our traditional territory.
Our traditional territory encompasses a great part of the Cariboo. Recognition of that traditional territory can go up to Tête Jaune down to Loon Lake, out by Lac la Hache and up to Quesnel. It's quite an area for traditional territory for our people, where our people hunted and fished since time immemorial.
Back in the 1950s when the federal and provincial governments passed some provincial responsibilities over to the province of British Columbia…. One of those is harvesting timber. I guess the biggest challenge we have is just being inclusive within the harvesting practice — with the TSAs and handing out the harvesting, looking at how that process has been carried out in the last little while.
We talk about the consultation and accommodation process. Canada was sort of one of the last countries to sign the UN declaration on the rights of indigenous peoples.
I guess the challenge the Canim Lake Band has within its own traditional territories over the last little while, specifically in forestry, is just being included in a lot of the decisions out there. We've never really been included in the timber supply area and how those decisions are made to disperse those harvestings to companies. A lot of that impacts us too.
Part of the report that Don read out was the sustainability and looking at our food and animals, plants and medicines that we depend on a lot, in the way that our people have lived for a long time — and have that respect, with Canim Lake Band as a governing body, the recognition that we are a people from that land and, I think, in the long run to have these hearings, generally to hear our concerns, to push that forward. I don't have too much to add other than what's in the report with Don and the appreciation of coming in.
To say the least, I'm more disappointed than anything else that we aren't included within our traditional territory in the talk about the 100 million cubic metres of timber being allocated. Where's the consultation and accommodation portion of it? Is it this meeting? I don't think so. [Secwepemctsin was spoken.]
J. Rustad (Chair): Thank you. I'll look to committee members for questions. I just want to start off with one question, though. Do you currently have a revenue-sharing agreement on forestry from a previous forest and range opportunity or forest and range agreement?
D. Dixon: Yes, we do.
J. Rustad (Chair): Okay. The other question I just had is: are you pursuing or do you have a forest tenure under the new tenure system that was set up for partnership with First Nations?
J. Kalmikoff: We've been pursuing one for six years. We're supposed to get a First Nations woodland licence in January.
One of the key things there is economic viability. It's great to get the tenure, but the tenure is too small to be economically viable at 20,000.
J. Rustad (Chair): Okay. Thank you
N. Macdonald (Deputy Chair): Just to understand: where are you in the treaty process, at which stage?
D. Dixon: We're waiting for another offer. Then we will ratify an AIP if we're successful with…. We're currently negotiating lands right now. We're at land selection right now. That's one of the holdups — that and then some federal stuff on fisheries that weren't coming to the table. So we're looking for another offer pretty soon — from my understanding, by this fall.
N. Macdonald (Deputy Chair): Okay. Just another question. One of the terms of reference for this committee is to look at a number of things, including area-based tenure. Of course, one of the questions is that from a First Nations perspective, any move to area-based tenure…. It might be community controlled; it might be licensee controlled. What are the things this committee needs to think about from a First Nations perspective, in terms of anything like that?
J. Kalmikoff: Well, I don't think there would be huge opposition to the move to area-based tenures, you know, as long as the First Nations are included. It's always been about inclusion and at a real economic level. We haven't got that yet.
Forestry revitalization said that First Nations were going to get 8 percent of the cut, and we're well below that. You know, to run a business, we need 100,000 cubic metres a year. The Crown is offering First Nations and community forests…. They're basically offering a bunch of tenures which, in today's economic conditions, can't really support a business.
So area-based tenures would probably be great as long as…. Well, if Canim was included, they probably wouldn't be too opposed to it.
N. Macdonald (Deputy Chair): All right. Just to understand that. Obviously, we're talking about likely, in the short term, anyway, constrictions on supply rather than…. I mean, we'd be looking for other opportunities, too, but in setting up an area-based tenure, there'd be discussion, and you'd be looking at participation within an area-based tenure? Or is that just something that…? There are a number of scenarios. You just need to be included and have those discussions and have the clearly identified interest you have properly addressed?
J. Kalmikoff: I think that the band…. You know, they started pursuing a TFL at Canim Lake over 25 years ago. They've wanted a large area-based tenure for 25 or 30 years, and they still want it.
At the same time, would we be opposed to, say, 100 Mile House — other people getting a community forest? Probably not, as long as we're included. If the 100 Mile House community forest was expanded, well, that would probably be okay, but again, all these things keep happening around the band, and the band is not being included. You know, things aren't going to move forward until the band is included as a real player, and 20,000 is just not enough to run a business on.
M. Archie: I'd like to maybe add a little bit to that. Within Canim Lake traditional territories it's really disheartening, to say the least, that we have a rich resource of forestry and that my community has to battle even to get a little sliver of what rightfully should be something that we benefit from. There's very little right now at this time the way the whole process is unrolling.
D. Barnett: Thank you very much for coming this morning and for welcoming us here to your traditional territory.
I have had the pleasure of working with you for many years. Hopefully…. I thought you had a new tenure after all the work and lobbying we've done. We're not there yet, but we'll keep working on it.
You have some very good partnerships, though, with industry in this area, and basically, you have a great logging company. Do you have any cut at all now, any tenure?
J. Kalmikoff: Yeah, we have 23,000 cubic metres — two woodlots, and a replaceable forest licence. It's good, but the reason that we're economically viable right now is because, just like everyone else, we're cutting pine beetle. You know, we've got a 100,000 cubic metre cut on the replaceable forest licence, and we're going to blow that off in two years. That's why we're economically viable.
D. Barnett: One more question. The consultation process: do you feel it's inadequate? Is that what I heard?
D. Dixon: Well, like I said, we've signed the consultation revenue-sharing agreement. In there we have an agreed-upon consultation matrix under the timber supply review. It's a determination. There was supposed to be a workshop according to our matrix, and that didn't happen yet.
J. Rustad (Chair): Any other questions?
Well, I want to thank you for taking some time to spend with us today. My apologies once again. I think the input that you gave us is very valuable and something that we've heard in other areas as well, so it's much appreciated that you've taken some time here with us today.
There were several other bands that are, overall, within the supply area that were invited. I'm not sure if any of the representatives are present, but I want to provide an opportunity for them to be able to come forward and present to our committee as well.
Not seeing any, once again, thank you very much. The committee will take another brief recess and set up for our next presenters.
The committee recessed from 9:15 a.m. to 9:39 a.m.
[J. Rustad in the chair.]
J. Rustad (Chair): Our next process now will be the public input component. Each presenter has 15 minutes for making the presentation. They can use that however they like. We recommend that you try to leave some time for questions and answers from the committee, but it is up to you.
I also want to say to everybody here, as well as anybody who may be listening — to remind people that they have until July 20 to give us a submission. So if you're unable to do a presentation here with our committee or in one of our other communities as we go through the community consultation process, I do encourage you to give us the written submissions through our website. That site, once again, is www.leg.bc.ca/timbercommittee.
As we start the process, our first presenter is Peter Sanders. Welcome.
P. Sanders: Thank you for this opportunity. I think it's extremely valuable. The way in which I'm going to do this — and I should keep to the ten minutes or so — is that I'm going to follow the format of your discussion paper. The background material that I wrote for this presentation, I wrote prior to receiving that.
The handout I've given you actually is just as I'm going to run through this. I put a little bit of my own background in there. Knowing a couple of people sitting at the head table, I think they can fill in some of the blanks.
We're on to part 3 of this. The issue actually has been well presented in the discussion paper, and I'm going to follow the format of that all the way through my presentation.
Some points relative to the discussion paper. You didn't actually use the word "disaster" in the pine beetle issue, and I don't think of it as a disaster. It's merely a natural event. Being a forester of many decades, I've been subject to the management of events. Some are climatic; some are social; some are biological.
This was just an event, and it's something that you should be prepared for, because the administration will have to deal with events regardless of whether or not they are biological, physical, geological or whatever. These are things that you have to be prepared for. You shouldn't have to actually react to something like this. You should have something in place to kick in to deal with it. As a forester, I don't actually see these things as disasters. They're just something you have to deal with.
There was one point in there that you mentioned in the first part of your discussion paper — ecosystems. Ecosystems will adapt. There's absolutely no doubt about that. They are incredibly resilient. They've already dealt with the beetle issue. What they have to deal with, actually, is how we deal with that. The ecosystems will deal with that.
In the response paper you'll see that I considered what you're talking about as a reaction rather than a way to actually deal with it. I know you've got questions out about some feedback of how to deal with it, but one of my main messages here is that you have to be prepared for these events, not merely react to them, regardless of the type of event.
The future prospects focus on the impacts of the infestation, rather than the opportunities that this created. Every event of this nature creates opportunities, and there are all kinds of opportunities. I've put one or two of these opportunities down in my background paper, which you don't have in front of you, but it has been supplied to your secretariat there.
The options to increase the mid-term timber supply identify possible actions to continue doing exactly the same thing — in other words, producing timber for processing. As I say, there's an opportunity here to look a little broader than just straight at producing wood.
On the harvesting constraints areas, I agree that you could enter some of these areas, although the quantity of timber that you'd actually get out of these reserve areas would be relatively small compared to what industry requires. And there are some areas that you actually shouldn't be in. That's a decision that you have to make — where, in actual fact, you're going to be in these harvesting-constrained areas.
One of my main points at the end will be actually that you need to watch how you protect some areas, because some areas you're just setting up for a future event. In other words, you've got to break up some of these areas a bit to put some diversity into them, rather than just have a carpet of wheat that's just going to be blown down or mown down or burned or whatever.
Increasing the marginal harvesting. I thought we were just about at the limit of economically feasible harvesting. In fact, I'm not even sure that's an issue.
Change administrative areas. I don't think that that's really an issue at all, but there are considerable volumes of timber being exported.
Maybe we should think about moving some processing plants from here down to the coast and use some of that timber. I know it's coming from areas that you don't have direct control of, but this is a market economy. You've got timber there going abroad because it's getting a better price for it. Think about — particularly industry — opening up some plants on the coast and using that up. It's not a huge amount anyway compared to the overall provincial thing.
Shifting to more area-based tenures. I've said: "Forget it." There's too much bureaucracy anyway at the moment. I don't think you need to do that.
Increasing the level of intensive forest management. You can't even keep up with the NSR that you've got at the moment. You know, a point I've made at the end is that you've got enough NSR area here that if it had been reforested properly you've got enough capacity growing on that NSR area, or should have, that would keep five major processing plants in B.C. going. It's an incredible waste.
Values and principles. What we should be looking at…. These should include long-term plans with associated action to prepare for any major event that will crop up. You should be prepared for it.
I was in the civil defence in Europe before I emigrated to Canada, and quite honestly, we had contingency plans for just about any sort of event, and that was right up to an atomic bomb event.
I've given you a supporting document that actually will suggest certain possible social changes to the social structure of B.C. that you may find interesting.
The population of B.C. is increasing, and in fact, one of the things you need to look at is how we're going to deal with this population. What is this population going to do when it's maybe ten or 15 million people? Sure as get out, the population of B.C. is going to go up that way. It's increasing rapidly. How are you going to sort of accommodate this urban-rural mix when you've got 15 million people in the province?
Decision-making. Now, that should be carried out by government. That's what MLAs are elected for. They're there to make decisions. We don't need a whole pile of committees scattered here, there and everywhere, trying to make decisions. We need strong, decisive leadership, and hopefully, that's what we're getting.
I've made some documents available to you to outline a diversification strategy for some of our rural land. In fact, that brings me to the last point before I sum up.
A major barrier to diversification is land-ownership patterns in B.C. Now, think seriously about that. We've got more government-owned land than most communist countries had. So think about that very, very seriously. The government has got an abysmal record of managing land. It really has. I know you probably get a lot of static about government, but some of it is well founded.
My main points here — I've got eight points. You've got to diversify land use. If you're relying on one low-value commodity, you're going to be subject to boom and bust forever. These events could be economic, or they could be biological or whatever — like events I had to deal with in Europe with windblow. We had just incredible windblow that we had to deal with. One night in Scotland I had six years AAC on the ground in something like 30 minutes as the storm went through. We had absolutely no problem dealing with that. We had a plan in hand to deal with that.
You don't know what future events are going to come along — this is point No. 2 — but you're required to develop a social system to buffer the impacts on any one particular sector.
The entire social fabric of rural B.C. needs a serious look. It's been neglected by government. We cannot rely on a boom and bust for ever.
A point here about land-ownership. Government doesn't need to own land to control its use. You have all the tools you need, actually, to…. I would suggest that you look to other jurisdictions to see what they do, where there's an enormous amount of private land. Look at Finland where over 75 percent of the land is in private hands. It's a thriving economy. If I owned 40 million hectares of productive forest land, I should sure as hell look after it.
I've already brought this example up, but if you look at one land management example, just think of the NSR — two cubic metres per annum per hectare, which is pretty low. On the coast I was producing 15 to 20, but if you average it over the thing, it would support five major sawmills in B.C.
The other point about that is maybe you should look seriously about grazing leases, and keep cattle out of regenerating areas. They're devastating on freshly regenerating areas and juvenile stands.
Silviculture is a continuing process. Intensive forest management of B.C. has just been one-shot deals. They're hopeless unless they're part of a continuum of silvicultural treatment.
Point 8 here is that over the course of time, governments have very different philosophical stripes. You've put up lots of commissions, lots of inquiries. This will be another one. There is an enormous amount of useful information in them, and I've just put down one here — Sloan, back in the dark ages. But Sloan brought up some really good points. Half of them were just totally ignored, but there is a lot of very useful stuff back there.
Anyway, I don't know if I've been ten minutes or not. Any questions?
J. Rustad (Chair): We've got a little bit of time for questions.
D. Barnett: Thank you very much. I just have a question. You've said that shifting to more area-based tenures — forget it. Then you say that if you look at just one example of poor land management, consider the amount of NSR land, etc.
Do you feel that the province should sell off this Crown land and then let private sector manage it? I'm a little bit confused that you don't feel that area-based tenures are good, yet you don't feel the government is managing the land. So where would the balance come in, in your opinion?
P. Sanders: What I'm suggesting, actually, is you look at some of the land going to…. In fact, not a huge amount at the present time. I'll recap.
I gave a presentation to the truck loggers back in the '80s about comparing B.C. to other jurisdictions, particularly in Scandinavia. I worked in Scandinavia. In fact, those economies work extremely well, with government owning a very small amount of the productive forest land.
What I'm suggesting is that not only do you actually sell off some of the land to private holdings…. In fact, in one of my background papers I've actually outlined in some detail a structure for doing this. You say: "Oh well. Private sector people, particularly small land owners, don't look after their ground." That's entirely up to you. You can legislate this, and it's been done in other jurisdictions far more, shall we say, freewheeling than B.C. is. In fact, yes, actually some of the land could be very readily sold off.
Have a look at that background material that I've given to you, because there's a model in there with a lot of the details worked out about actually how this could operate, and it's not new stuff. Just look elsewhere. There are all kinds of examples over the world.
One more example about Finland. Remember that land in Finland was actually taken out of the large holdings and redistributed, and it was done twice in the last century very successfully.
Did that answer your question?
D. Barnett: Yes.
B. Routley: Thank you, Peter. It's again a thoughtful and challenging…. I should tell this group that I went to Sweden with Peter, actually, years ago. We toured Sweden as a group loosely called the B.C. future forest study group, and we looked at intensive forest management — pruning, spacing, thinning, better utilization.
Talk about utilization, we saw in some places stumps being harvested for pellet plants, which is something I'll never forget. I certainly agree that the level of intensive silviculture that we saw take place there is not really practised here in British Columbia, and part of the problem has been that the cash cow has been utilized.
Unfortunately, in politics — I never imagined myself as one, by the way, but here I am — it's in shorter cycles than a forest. I'm not sure the public is ready to have politicians put in place on the same cycle as the forests. That might be very controversial, but it would help the forest.
The conundrum is that we have kind of lurched from pillar to post with the forest planning process, and we've gone from more prescriptive methods to professional reliance today. Obviously, the point you made about the problem of not sufficiently restocked land — I certainly agree with you that that's evidence of not managing well.
In terms of the beetle area, we've toured around here and seen some opportunities. I think you've heard about some of the suggestions. Do you have any additional suggestions on what we could actually do that would not affect, for example, old-growth areas or biological zones?
A lot of the other values, I think you're suggesting, have to be recognized and protected. But in terms of intensive, do you think there's an opportunity there? What about the number of trees grown per hectare?
I've heard during this tour that there may be an opportunity there. We may actually be growing more than we're showing right now on the provincial books in terms of the actual growth and yield curves. That's also something they do on private land. You would know this. On private lands they tend to have a better sense of their inventory and exactly what age classes they have, and they keep up.
Sorry. I'm wandering. Do you have some ideas on forests and what we could actually do?
P. Sanders: Bill, I never thought you'd end up in politics either.
Apart from human beings, what's the most valuable resource that B.C. has? It's land. In fact, the land actually presents opportunities to diversify its use, and I would suggest that a fair amount of forest land is probably more suitable for agriculture than it is for growing trees. In fact, agriculture is a very strong part of the economy — or should be. In B.C. it's cows, sheep or whatever. But in fact you've got opportunities there, and I've outlined some of that in my background material.
There are opportunities. I'm not going to go into them, because there's a lot of detail in that background. Agriculture is one of them. If you like, you should look at the land as being a perpetual producer under the right circumstances. It is not a one-off commodity. It has incredible diversity within the land itself. In fact, you've got to let the people loose on the land to actually find out what those uses are. People are incredibly innovative.
In fact, on my little patch of land out there — I've got 250 acres; half of it's under trees — I produce about 20 to 30 different products. Half of it's in farmland; half of it's in trees. I've got all sorts of community and what you call environmental values that I'm producing there, too, as spinoffs.
J. Rustad (Chair): We're well over time. I want to thank you very much for your presentation and providing us with the information.
Our next presenter will be Allyson Rogers.
A. Rogers: Good morning. Thank you for this opportunity to speak. I am wearing many hats this morning. I come to you as a long-term resident of the area. I have lived near 70 Mile House on the Bonaparte Plateau for over 20 years. I'm a business owner. I own the ranch at Siwash Lake, which is a luxury guest ranch. I am director for the B.C. Wilderness Tourism Association, and I am past president and director of the B.C. Guest Ranchers Association.
More than anything, though, I sit here as an entrepreneur challenging you, as Peter said in his last speech just now, to find some innovative solutions to this problem without squashing all of us other industries that use the resources and the land. I really believe that tourism, especially nature-based tourism, is B.C.'s trump card — B.C.'s wild card — and that it is one of the most sustainable industries in the province.
We are growing considerably. We are just behind forestry in our revenue production every year. My business is thriving. I have managed to position myself so that Siwash Lake Ranch is a flagship property for the province of British Columbia in tourism. It is also a member of the Canadian Tourism Commission's Signature Experiences Collection. We are being marketed around the world as one of B.C.'s best.
Let me tell you, I need the old-growth forest. I need the viewscape. Dead pine out there or not, I need nature to be allowed to exist in a sustainable manner, which I believe your proposal to increase the timber supply and relax values for visual-quality objectives and old-growth management areas and wildlife management…. I believe that sort of plan that's on the table here is highly reactive.
I support Peter 100 percent in that I believe you are looking at knee-jerk solutions that could have considerable impact on the rest of us. I know I'm stepping out on a limb here, but I think it's highly discriminatory. It's controversial. It's purely reactive and highly unethical from my perspective in tourism.
I know that you've got some big problems to address. I am not a forester. So I'm very sorry; I do not have the solutions. But as a business owner over the years, I have somehow managed to support my business without any government support. In fact — I hate to say this — the government has thrown more wrenches in my path than support. I've managed to keep going, and I'm actually succeeding and thriving like I said.
I'm sure that if we all work together we can figure this out without seriously impacting one of B.C.'s best resources, which is nature-based tourism.
Over the years I've had a lot of dialogue with forestry. In the last four years especially, it's heated up so much so that I've lost many, many nights of sleep in trying to make sure that the land around my property and business is not clearcut, which was part of the plan there for quite a while.
But I managed, with many discussions and ranting and raving, to actually get some good dialogue going with the guys locally here. I've been very elated to discover that, yeah, we can actually coexist here, and we can work together. We've come up with some great solutions. The guys in BCTS and Pat Byrne in town here — we're all working together well. So I was horrified to see this now on the table. It's like, to me, a huge backwards step in the progress we've been making to work together.
I did not come with anything prepared this morning. I'm speaking, shooting from the hip. I don't have time to write reams and reams of paper like I have over the past four years, because it was getting to the point of being detrimental to my business. I came to speak to you today from the heart, wearing all the hats that I told you about. I just ask you to seriously reconsider the plan on the table.
J. Rustad (Chair): Thank you very much.
N. Macdonald (Deputy Chair): First, thank you very much for the presentation. Just to understand the comment that you made about unethical, so that I understand it…. What you're talking about, perhaps, is if a decision was to be made that would impact your business without you having the ability to participate. Is that what you're saying?
A. Rogers: Yeah. Without consideration to the long-term effects on not just forestry…. I mean, I think you're digging yourselves into a hole, as well, by not looking at sustainable practices. Yeah, exactly.
N. Macdonald (Deputy Chair): Okay. To give you some comfort — what you heard from your local government here and what you've heard from First Nations — consistently we've heard that the decision-making that's made within the community is an important component of any land use planning. Basically, that's what you're reinforcing today — right?
A. Rogers: Absolutely.
N. Macdonald (Deputy Chair): Given the opportunity, you can work an awful lot of this out on the ground if the capacity is there.
A. Rogers: Yeah. I mean, as the people out there on the land, we are the best stewards. So I really encourage you to do what you're doing today and ask us for our input. As Peter was saying, the people, the private property owners and the business owners — we know how to best take care of things because we have to, just to make a living, to sustain our lifestyles. Right?
We don't have the government backing us up if things go sideways — right? — so we have to come up with innovative solutions. So I appreciate that, yeah, this opportunity is at hand.
N. Macdonald (Deputy Chair): Just really quickly. Part of it is that there are many overlapping interests that have to be worked through. Part of it is that government capacity within the community — right? — because you are depending upon that local capacity within the Ministry of Forests.
A. Rogers: I see the government more as a facilitator. I think that if you were to take the role of a facilitator rather than a dictator in terms of establishing some of these policies, it would be better, you know. There are a lot of different users in my little neck of the woods, and we all seem to figure it out. We don't necessarily get along all the time, but we figure it out.
E. Foster: I think, just to clarify something for you here, Allyson, there seems to be a misconception that this committee is supporting going into the old-growth areas and the riparian areas and so on and so forth. That's not what we're here for. I could suggest that in the discussions that we've certainly had….
A. Rogers: Can I…? I'm sorry to interrupt, but I would ask how you would increase the timber supply without going into some of those areas, given that everything else is exhausted.
E. Foster: Our mandate is not to increase the timber supply. That's not what we're here for. What we're here to do is to have this discussion with the communities. One of the questions that was asked of the staff and the senior staff at the Forest Service was to identify possible opportunities for timber that we're not traditionally using, and that's what they did. They didn't suggest that we should do it. They didn't make any suggestions at all. The request was for them to identify.
Our job is to go around and talk to the communities and find out what their feeling about it is. If the overwhelming concern is that we don't go into, say, OGMAs, for example, that's fine. We're not here to tell you what we're going to do. We're here to find out what….
A. Rogers: Yeah. I need that to be heard loud and clear, that the OGMAs need to be retained — you know?
E. Foster: Okay, and that's fine. If that's the message, that's a good, strong message. We certainly have heard that from forest professionals as well. But just to clarify, we don't…. Our mandate is not to come out here and find more timber and tell you what we're going to do. Our mandate is to find out what the feelings are in the community, what the options are, if there are opportunities for additional mid- and long-term timber supplies to identify them.
We're not here to tell you we're going to clearcut up to your property line. That's not what our mandate is at all. Maybe the message that was sent out wasn't very clear. We thought it was scripted fairly well, because we were involved in it. But just to be very clear on that, that's not what we're here to do.
Back to Peter Sanders's comment there a few minutes ago: government should make decisions, and we will have to do a report and make some recommendations to government when we're done. But if we don't do this, if we don't come out and consult with the communities, we have no idea what you want. So that's what we're here for. Okay?
A. Rogers: Yeah, which is great.
E. Foster: So just for sort of a level of comfort to people, we're not here to tell you we're going to cut your OGMAs down. That's not our mandate whatsoever.
A. Rogers: Yeah. We're just here to make sure you don't.
E. Foster: That's why we've come: to find out what you've got to say.
D. Barnett: That's what I wanted to clarify. We haven't come here to tell you that that's what we're going to do. We are here to listen to you.
I know I've been very involved with yourself and others, and I can say that over the last couple of years, with a lot of your and other people's knocking on doors, and my doors…. I know industry and the Forests Ministry have come a long way. I think it's very important that that dialogue continues.
I think I agree with you. We can all work together and get along together, and we're going to have to give some here, and we're going to have to give some there so it can be a win-win for everyone.
But please rest assured we're not here to tell you that that's what we're going to do. We're here to hear what you have to say.
J. Rustad (Chair): Allyson, thank you very much for your presentation.
Our next presenter will be the Cariboo regional district.
Al, John and Janis — over to you.
A. Richmond: Good morning. Thank you for the opportunity to speak to you today. We're here to try and provide some suggestions for your consideration in trying to see how, as communities, we can work together to make the best of the situation we find ourselves in.
I think the first thing we want to suggest is that one size doesn't fit all for each timber supply area. We believe they should all be considered independent to others.
In order to make informed decisions on the mid-term timber supply, we call for the government to make an immediate investment in updating the current inventory and undertaking detailed growth-in-yield analysis studies so the current and future fibre supplies can be more accurately determined.
It's important to align science, inventory and regulatory priorities to increase opportunities for fibre production in our forests. Decisions need to be based on a long-term, forward-thinking, science-based basis in order to ensure sustainable development for future generations and our environment, not just a short-term economy.
We'd urge the government to ensure that an independent office of the chief forester, reporting to the Legislature, is adequately resourced and tasked to set out the AAC levels independently, based on science and sustainability, forest health and local-level higher land use plans such as the Cariboo-Chilcotin land use plan.
Much like the Auditor General, the chief forester must be free from political process, reporting directly to the Legislature as a whole, as opposed to being encompassed within a single ministry. The office of the chief forester must be sufficiently resourced to ensure that decisions are made based on accurate information, not supposition.
Decisions need to be adequately funded by the government on an ongoing basis to ensure that objectives are met — i.e., inventories are kept current, prompt reforestation of all forest Crown lands, etc.
Government must also investigate means of reducing costs to allow harvesting of remote pine beetle stands. There's a significant amount of beetle-impacted fibre on the landscape, and licensees consider some of this to be uneconomical to harvest due to low value of the fibre and distance to processing facilities. That fibre will be wasted. The area will remain a fire hazard, and regeneration of a healthy forest land base will be slowed if harvesting does not increase.
While finding a means to harvest the fibre should be a priority, due regard to potential impacts on infrastructure or safety needs to be considered. In some cases it may be necessary to consider investments from the perspective of shared infrastructure values to access remote stands — i.e., mining, forestry, tourism and First Nations. Investing in key infrastructure such as the extension of three-phase power to the Nazko Valley has the potential to serve multiple sectoral needs, including harvesting of remote pine beetle stands.
Cariboo regional district does not support reopening the Cariboo-Chilcotin land use plan. We believe, and would support, that every plan should have a periodic review of the strategies to achieve the objectives within the land use plan that includes public input process to ensure the manner in which we achieve the objectives is effectively achieved by taking into accounts all values within the plan.
All actions must be considered to ensure that they do not adversely affect other economies that are dependent on the forest land base, such as tourism, agriculture, etc. We learned, being the Forest Capital of Canada for 2010-2011, the multiple activities that take place in our forests and the number of industries that are there and affected and operate and are key to the success of the forest land base. We learned about birchwood syrup, for example, and those small industries that take advantage of hardwoods that exist there.
We'd like to investigate moving to area-based tenures rather than volume-based tenures to ensure that licensees have a vested interest in ensuring maximum utilization of all available fibre, maximum regeneration and consideration of community values.
We've attached a picture — at the bottom right-hand corner there — that shows a pile of waste that's eight miles from 100 Mile House. It's a very short haul to bring that fibre into town to be processed, and yet it's uneconomical to do so. When you drive up to Williams Lake this afternoon, there are three piles you can see from the highway. That's private land logging. There's nothing wrong with it. They've done a great job of doing it, but the fibre that's left, estimated by some of the folks you've spoken to, to be 30 percent of what we touch in the forest…. So 30 percent is left in the forest in unused fibre. We need to find a way to make it economical for the forest timber licensees, anyone, to go get that fibre and utilize it so it isn't going up in smoke.
On the next page we show you an example of fires — of these slash piles being burned. If you look very closely, you'll see the size of the piles, and in the forefront, you'll see a man standing there. That just gives you an idea of the size and the waste that's going up in smoke. It's not a criticism of the government. We just need to find a way to utilize this fibre so we're not just wasting it.
The area-based tenures have potential to reward licensees to invest in the forest beyond the required mandate minimum, ensuring that they will be a beneficiary to that of the increased long-term investment.
Policies need to be put into place to limit the current waste of incidental hardwood harvesting. Legislation should be reviewed to reduce and eliminate unnecessary obligatory roadblocks to the mid-term timber supply. For example, a cut control carry-forward position that may allow certain licensees to avoid selling green wood into an oversupplied market by having them carry their unused portion of the AACs into a future period where the fibre might have more value and be more in demand, and review these regulations to assist in levelling out the mid-term timber supply.
We'd also call on the government to ensure that CN provides affordable, reliable transportation, including the availability of railcars to meet industry needs. Consistent reports from industry indicate that CN is still not providing a reliable means of transportation. Often, adequate cars are not available when needed, or the fee structure unfairly penalizes industry when they do become available. For example, there's no penalty for CN if they fail to deliver adequate cars when required, but then when they deliver the large number of cars, they penalize the industry for not filling them fast enough.
On the other hand, once filled, CN again has no penalty, regardless of how long they take when they choose to move that inventory.
Lastly, we'd ask to call upon the government to address the interim revenue loss to local governments and work with local governments to establish a long-term diversified regional economy. In closing, we understand the complexity of the mid-term timber supply, and we recognize that all actions must be carefully considered to ensure that they do not adversely affect the other economies that are dependent on the forest land base, such as tourism and agriculture, etc.
Our region is and will continue to be a resource-based economy, and forestry will continue to be an active, important part of our economy, our lifestyles and the environment in which we live. Any proposed changes must contribute to the transition to a restructured resource-based economy and not simply perpetuate the current unsustainable practices.
We are also experiencing growth in other resource-based industries such as mining. It's important that we actively inventory upcoming projects and time frames that they may ultimately replace traditional mill jobs — mines and bioenergy — and address any gaps with the possibility of local post-secondary institutions for retraining opportunities and other mitigation measures to fill any interim employment levels.
It's also important the government make investments to ensure diversity of skills, competencies in our workforce and ensure transferability of successes, of skillsets, within the resource-based economy. In the interim, communities and families will require transition funding to address the identified needs.
We thank you for your consideration, and if you have some questions, we'd be pleased to try and answer them.
J. Rustad (Chair): Thank you very much.
D. Barnett: Thank you very much for your presentation. I just have a question on a comment that you made regarding the huge piles of wood waste out there that we've been dealing with for years and years. I'm well aware of them.
You said that we should find a way to make this waste economical for diversification of other industries, which has many studies going on, I understand, through UBC and one place and another. Of course, you and I both know that the world of business is always market-driven. There has to be a place to sell it, and there has to be a dollar to make.
I know how strongly many people feel about this out there. I feel strongly too that it would be great if we could utilize it, create more jobs — be better for the environment. But unfortunately there is no market out there that has driven the private sector to go into some economy-based business that would utilize this.
My question to you is: if there was, and this is all hypothetical, an industry that came along that could marginally, but maybe needs a little assistance, do something with that wood waste to get it over the hump — it may be successful; may not — would you be in favour of government subsidizing this type of business? Please be reminded that we know governments from time to time have gone into business, and governments don't do a good job of running business. So I'd like your opinion on subsidizing industry to move this ahead.
A. Richmond: I would agree with you that government doesn't do well at running business. That doesn't say that all people at the table aren't adequate business people from time to time. I think it's a delicate balance, MLA Barnett, and we need to find a way to encourage industry to do that.
If you consider 30 percent is wasted…. There are other opportunities. I'm going to perhaps give Director Massier an opportunity to talk about an instance with hardwood that happened in the Quesnel area, where it was actually decked and handled.
The area of these piles is…. These folks have gone and handled them. They've logged it. They've piled it. They've moved it. They've probably handled it at least twice, perhaps three times. So there's a cost to this stuff. It costs them money. It's a shame to see it burned.
John, perhaps you could elaborate.
D. Barnett: Could I just ask you: would you be in favour of government subsidizing industry?
A. Richmond: I would like to see the business plan around it. Yes, I think we need to help bioenergy get going, and more diversification of our economy. I would have to see the business case around it before I would say yes or no, but I believe it's something that government should look at.
J. Massier: I think that in some cases we unintentionally put roadblocks out there when it comes to utilizing some of this waste. Things I can think of in a lot of the small communities in my area and that…. I see the incidental waste of hardwoods in these piles.
Last year I burned on a cutblock…. I was hired to light fires on a cutblock that probably had, in my estimate, 50 truckloads of birch that would have been cut and just stayed in a pile. If that birch…. The same motion that it took that machine to pick up the birch and swing it into a pile 30 metres off the road could have swung it in the other direction and laid it along the road edge. I know a lot of members of my community would have been out there with their power saws on the weekends filling up their pickup trucks and heating their homes with that. There may have been a local entrepreneur who got a salvage licence from the ministry who went in and carried on a firewood business to supply his neighbours and friends.
Meanwhile, people are downloading the free firewood permits off the Internet and cutting live, standing birch 100 yards up the road on the road edge when this waste was just around the corner, sort of thing. I think those are the sort of roadblocks that aren't intentionally set up. That's just the way we do things in large, mechanized amounts. I saw piles of good firewood. A lot of people comment on that area.
A lot of people in the rural areas use firewood. They just can't access the waste that's there because the roads are either deactivated five minutes after the logging is done, or the piles, because of the nature of the mechanized logging, are put just out of reach of the fellow with his pickup truck that has to carry it 50 yards across the slash when things could be done just slightly differently and made a lot easier for local people to use.
J. Rustad (Chair): Thank you very much. We've got a couple of other questions, but unfortunately we're out of time. I want to thank you for the presentation, and hopefully we can maybe get a chance to chat again at a break in the future in the meeting here.
Our next presenter is Ken Waite.
K. Waite: Good morning. Thanks for the opportunity to be here and make a presentation to your committee. You've got a daunting task, a fairly grueling schedule, and I appreciate the time you took to come to 100 Mile for that.
I retired three years ago from the Forest Service here as the district manager. Frankly, when I left, everything was good, so I don't know what happened. Seriously though, I'm also a registered professional forester and worked throughout the interior of the province over 35 years with the government. When I moved here in 2002, it was kind of prior to the height of the beetle epidemic, but it was starting then.
I was directly involved with the implementation management and the uplifts that happened subsequent to the beetle epidemic when I retired in 2009. I recall talking with staff back then. We couldn't believe some of the things that were going on with the overwinter mortality rates and the expansion of the beetle. We figured we had it wrong by a magnitude of ten or something, and it just couldn't be happening. But as we all know, it happened, and here we are.
In this TSA here in 100 Mile House, it's actually probably better off than some of the other ones as far as the geography goes and the diversified economy they have relative to other beetle districts. The area is well-roaded and has one of the highest timber-harvesting land bases compared to other districts and for the size it has. These are all positive things, I think, that are going to help 100 Mile move through this mid-term timber supply crunch versus some of the other areas in the province.
My response today — I've framed it around your discussion paper. I'll go through those questions and try and provide some of my input to those questions and points.
Before I do that, though, I have three overriding themes that'll come out as I go through this. The first theme is that stewardship and long-term sustainability of the forest is paramount. We can't be making decisions for the short term or the mid-term that are going to impact what happens a hundred years from now.
Multiple use, not single use, of the forest, I think, is another important theme.
The last one is that there is uncertainty in all of this. We can make our best estimate and do risk analysis, but there still is a level of uncertainty there as we go through this.
The other thing before I get into the discussion papers. As it's been mentioned before, one factor that requires immediate attention is accurate and timely inventory of the forest. 100 Mile has one of the most outdated inventories, and I see in the background documents that it's going to be updated by 2015. I'd encourage a faster completion, knowing that there are limited resources. I think the original inventory dates from the '70s.
The Crown is the owner of the resource, and we need to know what we're dealing with when we get down to making decisions and looking at options. Key to that is an accurate inventory. So if inventory can't be completed in timely manner — this is the full-blown inventory — I'd suggest there are a number of ground-truthings and surveys that could be completed to support sensitivity analyses that are done through any timber supply reviews or options papers and scenarios that are developed.
Some of these ground-truthing things would be the percent pine kill and the amount of pine, especially in the mixed species stands. Look at the shelf life again and the pine deterioration. It's been changing, and I think it's all over the map.
Looking at the loss of our young spaced stands, we have lots of stands out west that were spaced and worked on, and for the most part, they're dead. Some of them are likely showing on the inventory as an age class 2 stand that we're assuming is green. These stands are anywhere between 15 and 30 years old. A lot of them are completely wiped out, but I'm not sure if all of them are.
Looking at the age, area and species in the understorey on our multistoreyed stands that are out there, I'm not sure we have a real good handle on what is in the understorey with the dead overstorey of the pine that's there.
Along with that would be a growth and yield update of those stands. The dead pine is going to change how those stands are growing, in my opinion.
The last one of these inventory looks is to look at the amount of dead spruce we have out there, caused by the spruce beetle.
Within this inventory, I'd include the OGMAs, parks and other constrained areas, not just a look at the timber-harvesting land base we have today. I mentioned accuracy of the inventory but not at the expense of timeliness. I'd suggest an 80 percent answer in two years is better than a 95 percent one in five years. Lastly, the inventory task and the investment should rest with the Crown and not with industry, because we're the owners of the resource.
On to the discussion paper. Harvesting constrained areas could be a viable option in site-specific cases. We've talked about the Cariboo-Chilcotin land use plan. It's a good plan, balancing the trade-offs and what was given up or what's traded off. It's still a viable plan today.
We could look at some site-specific areas — OGMAs, VQOs, adjacency and riparian. All of that could be looked at in site-specific areas by professionals, etc. I think what's required of that, though, is what you're giving up, to cost some of the trade-offs. So if you do enter an OGMA, you know, what's it going to cost you? That was the first point.
On the constrained areas — and this is probably more controversial — I think we could consider harvesting in some of our parks and other protected areas. I'm thinking of the Schoolhouse Park and the edges of Wells Gray that come into the 100 Mile House TSA. I think the question you need to consider is: can we afford the amount of single-use protected areas we currently have in the beetle zone? Is it appropriate? We made those decisions for protected areas of a certain percentage back when everything was green. I'm not sure that's true now.
Marginally economic timber. I don't see that as too much of an option to get into that, because licensees already do a good job of harvesting marginal areas. We've talked about the Ainsworth OSB plant here. It significantly bailed out the industry here by taking a lot of that product from the sawlog stands. By using stand-as-a-whole pricing and cruise-based stumpage, that leaves the industry free to do what they want in those stands, to use it or not. They've already paid for it.
We could look at things like funding haul-cost differentials — expanding the area where the OSB is economical for the licensees to haul in. The danger with that is you open up a whole can of worms in other parts of the province, like the Chilcotin pine coming into Williams Lake. If we subsidize here, we'll probably have to do the same thing up there.
Adjusting administrative boundaries. The TSA boundary could benefit by going to the south and east, because we're on the edge of the serious beetle zone, and you could gather some more land down there if you want. But what likely would end up happening is that you would go down and harvest the greener areas of that part of the expanded area, and then you'd just move the problem over to Clearwater or Adams Lake, because they've now run out of timber that came over this way.
You could partition the AAC to solve that, but then, if you do an area or species partition, you've really not accomplished anything. So I'd suggest probably leaving the area the way it is, because you're just going to move the problem around. We've already seen an example of this back when West Fraser did purchase the Kamloops tenures. That was a business decision. They moved it up here, and it was without government changing boundaries or administrative areas or anything.
I don't see dropping the minimum harvest age or volume per hectare in greenwood. That's not a sound decision. All that that's going to do is postpone our falldown, which we know is coming, and it's going to impact further down the road.
Area-based tenures. That would result in more licensee security and likely see more intensive management. I think it's a goal for the long term. I think we're past the point to do that here. It'd be problematic because the volume-based tenures are now overlapping in the TSA, operating wherever they want. You would be in a real dog's breakfast to try and sort that out with multiple licensees, First Nations, B.C. Timber Sales — to get areas that are area-based for all of them, to make them happy.
The volume-based model worked not badly to harvest the uplifts, and I think it should continue that way. All we need to do is make sure the licensees all play nicely with each other, which sometimes doesn't always work.
But by area-based tenures, I think you constrain yourselves. If you parcel it out, then you've got small areas or even larger areas that…. You don't have the flexibility to move around to where you may need to go.
Increasing the level of forest management, I don't see as a big gain — fertilization, understorey thinning or intensive management. It's costly no matter what you do. One of the backgrounders had us spending a million dollars annually to gain 27,000 cubic metres. Well, if you run that through, that's $36-something a cubic metre that you've got to recoup, just to start with, and I don't think it's there.
The return on investment — need to go to areas of really high site and good mean annual increment. In the Interior, for the most part, we're not really there. I mean, the money could be better spent on the coast, or maybe the money could be better spent on other activities here in 100 Mile.
This isn't really an intensive forest management item, but we've got to pay attention to the health of our forests. We need to keep track of the fir beetle, the spruce beetle, the budworm.
An example of this was back in around 2008 here in the northeast part of the district. We had a significant spruce beetle infestation. For the most part, we knew it was there. We tried to do some mapping. Couldn't get it harvested. We were busy on the pine. It's mostly winter logging. We lost a lot of volume and a lot of good wood up there. We can't afford that to happen in the future with, say, a fir beetle infestation in greenwood. That would not be good.
On to the public consultation. Values and principles for decision-making. I've stated it before. Our greatest concern is that we would make decisions that mitigate some of the mid-term and sacrifice the long-term sustainability.
Now, we made a conscious decision to uplift the AAC here and in other parts of the province and capture the value at the time, and we knew we would be here today with an impact. We can't carry that through in the future, obviously, and I don't think we can carry it through without outside mitigation — by which I mean outside the beetle zone. We can't expect the beetle areas to solve their own problem.
So how are decisions made? We've got a publicly owned resource. The decisions should be made by First Nations, public, stakeholders. They need to be timely, transparent trade-offs — all those good buzzwords. We have to know what we're giving up.
We can't get into a long-term LRMP land use decision-making process with committees and meetings. We need to get some kind of a shorter-term thing. I don't think it can be any kind of a consensus-based model, and it sure can't be a veto or a lobbying model that we've seen before in places.
What I'd suggest is a local, effective public — communities, stakeholders, First Nations…. They have their input into these scenarios that the chief forester's office and the timber supply review folks developed. Get the input from the locals that way. The Crown can provide the social and economic objectives, and the chief forester can make his determination with that input.
Getting to the end here. As outlined, cautions and advice for your committee. We can't make a decision now that affects the long term, and there should be as little single use on the land base as possible.
I really said that we need outside mitigative help. Maybe I've had too much time on my hands since I retired, but I think we need to spread the pain around the province. Call me crazy, but I came up with a hinterland tax or a beetle trust fund.
It seems that the biggest mitigation is to expand our land base somehow. That means maybe we should log in a park or an OGMA or something like that. If we can't do that…. I'm not naive enough to think we'd be able to do that, but maybe we should be valuing the opportunity cost of that park. Can we afford all the protected areas? Maybe not.
We come up with a taxation and user-pay system for those parks and apply it to the province, because we are going to need funds to mitigate mill closures and employment losses when the cut goes down. I mean, we're going to go in half. We can't expect that all these mills and things are going to be running in the province.
So my novel idea is to apply a tax levy of some kind to the assessments in all of B.C. or a user-pay system that would go into a trust fund and administer the trust fund through Northern Development Initiative, CCBAC or like the Columbia Basin Trust is operated. And these funds that come in could go for economic development, infrastructure, pellet plants — who knows. This puts the mitigation efforts across B.C.
On the user-pay front you could look at things like a hiking pass for anybody that goes into the forest. You could look at snowmobile user fees, ATV user fees, increased camping fees, admittance fees. I've been to Wells Gray Park. It's free. That's a huge area of the land base tied up in a park. People, for the most part, don't pay anything for that, really.
That's my presentation. Thank you for the opportunity to provide my thoughts.
J. Rustad (Chair): Thank you, Ken. There's a whole bunch of questions, but unfortunately, we've gone over the time. If you don't mind me asking, if you could leave that material that you used with Jacqueline at the back, then she'll make sure it gets distributed to the committee members as well. Thank you very much for that.
I'd also like to just remind people that if you come in and want to make a presentation, please make sure you check with Jacqueline at the back. She's trying to make sure that everybody is accounted for and that we are on track.
Our next presenter is the South Cariboo Trappers.
Paul and Judy, over to you.
J. Banas: Thank you very much. I appreciate this opportunity.
Being trappers, we do have a lot of concern about the biodiversity and what is happening in the forest. We're definitely not against logging. We do not wish to try to stop it or anything like that. It can actually be beneficial if it is done in a correct manner.
The system that has been ongoing lately definitely does not do a lot for the habitat, the wildlife. You know, one has to look at the whole bigger picture of what's going on, as well as the logging. If we can get down to smaller cut blocks, no herbicides and an extreme minimum amount of any brushing, it would certainly be a great help to the wildlife that's out there. They have to have somewhere to go in the mid-term as well.
I've given you these papers here. As one forestry person put it: "We fancy that industry supports us, forgetting what supports industry." So we really, really do need to look at the whole bigger picture with the logging. It can be done very well and very beneficial for everyone. But it really needs to slow down a bit.
The streams also. The public's perception of a riparian zone or at least within the trappers' industry…. Small streams are extremely important, and so are the seasonal streams that are sometimes wiped out and altered with logging. We have our request paper here, our position from the B.C. Trappers Association. We have mentioned the streams and distance between cutblocks, because back-to-back certainly doesn't assist any of the animals in survival.
In the hunting regulations it is noted that trappers are to be careful how many fisher they take and to be concerned about fisher habitat, yet unfortunately the logging companies either don't know or were never told of this. There is some crucial, critical habitat that we have requested with forest companies to please leave, and often we're told that can't be done.
We don't ask for a whole lot, and trappers do make a minimum imprint on the land, so we just, please, ask to look at the whole, bigger picture and perhaps slow down a bit on logging and definitely leave the mule deer winter range alone.
Now, if Paul has anything here to add….
P. Blackwell: We have seen what has happened with the pine beetle, and because we're out there far more than anybody else, we've seen the effects of these progressive clearcuts, as we call them. We've also seen how slow the pine comes back, especially in our dry belt areas. So what's left now is critical.
We've presented you with a paper on smaller cutblocks because under the current legislation it's doable, and it's something that the forest companies, if they're pushed to, can do in the short term. Therefore, your committee can allow a reasonable allowable cut in the short term and ensure that the mills do have our timber supply. If you allow them to go ahead with the logging at the current rate and with the cutblock sizes the way that they've been laying them out, we're finished as an industry, if that goes into the fir.
When I first moved to the Cariboo 40 years ago, fir was logged in a manner called faller-select. It was labour-intensive. Sixty percent of the Douglas fir was harvested by a faller who went in, cut down 60 percent of the trees, left 40 percent, and it was carefully skidded out to maintain a certain amount of canopy that we needed for our old-growth species, dependent species like pine marten and fisher. It was very, very beneficial.
The companies are now telling us: "We can't do that anymore. It's too labour-intensive. It's not efficient, so we have to use cutblocks, clearcuts in the fir if we're going to survive." Fine. We will go along with cutblocks. We'll even go along with cutblocks in some old-growth management areas, although we resist that. We will certainly go along with cutblocks on some of the mule deer winter range as long as they are small. In this case, our recommendation is for 35-to-40-hectare maximum sizes for the cutblocks.
That is our position. We have detailed this, just so that you can understand it a little bit better, in diagrams of the edge effect and definitions of what edge does for all of our species, from the short-tailed weasels and ermine all the way up to fisher, foxes, coyotes and lynx, which are now our bread and butter.
We would like legislated changes to the herbicide and brushing components, because in our mid-term, as it were, while we're waiting for the old growth to come back, we can make a living from coyotes and foxes and fisher if the regen is left alone. If intensive silviculture practices are carried out in the new growth, we're out of business also.
I mean, the companies are telling us: "Oh, yeah, but we have to spray. We have to do this, and we have to do that." It is our understanding that politically that is not necessary and it's not popular. There are now studies, and we've given you one that shows that aspen is beneficial to the growth of new conifers, and it doesn't need to be brushed.
If we can get some assurances from the politicians that at least there's some leeway so that some of these practices that are so hurtful to our industry are not going to happen, then we will support your mid-term timber supplies as well as we possibly can.
J. Rustad (Chair): Thank you. We have time for a few questions.
I want to ask the first question here, and then we'll go to Donna. I'm just wondering. When you're out trapping, out doing your activities on the land base, do you notice a difference in a young stand, just after logging — a planted stand versus a naturally regenerated stand?
P. Blackwell: Not much, no. Where we did notice enormous differences was…. When they planted a stand and cut a three-metre distance between trees, then the canopy closure was so slow compared to a natural stand, where it comes in very thickly, that the hares didn't come back, and therefore the predator species didn't come back as quickly either. What the Forest Service's own studies have shown is that canopy closure is critical for most of our species, especially pine marten and fisher, which need at least 50 percent canopy closure, which means 30 years of unspaced, free-growing trees to achieve that.
Our old-growth species are in serious trouble in the short term because we're not going to see marten populations the way we had them here for probably 40 to 60 years. We can live with that as long as we get the thick new growth that you're talking about, and if…. The planting now seems to be a lot better. They do seem to be planting multispecies rather than a monoculture, but what we're saying is that if you leave that aspen and let the spruce and the pine grow up amongst it, the forest is going to be a whole lot healthier.
D. Barnett: Thank you very much for making that presentation. I've heard it quite a few times. I've had the pleasure of working with the trappers association. I think we are making progress slowly but surely, but I know what your concerns and your issues are.
What is your opinion on area-based tenures?
P. Blackwell: I thought it was a huge mistake when the government decided to put forest companies in charge of the forests. I felt that it was like putting the fox in charge of the henhouse. So I'm not quite sure where that whole system should go. Different parts of the province have different variations on area-based tenures anyway.
What is worrying us here is that it seems like there's so much overlap that half the time we don't know who we're dealing with. B.C. Timber Sales comes in and logs a chunk and if they can get it fast enough, before Tolko gets it. That is certainly a negative impact on our trapline.
I presume what you're asking is: would it be better to have one company have a larger tenure? Is that…?
D. Barnett: Well, no. An area-based tenure, where they would be responsible for the long-term stability of that particular area. They would do silviculture to try and increase the growth so that they would have better yield.
P. Blackwell: Yeah. Okay, so more to the tree farm model.
D. Barnett: Right.
P. Blackwell: Yeah, that's what I thought you meant. We would probably be very much in favour of knowing who we're dealing with on a larger area, for sure, rather than this free-for-all.
The companies tell us: "We're going to the Bonaparte now. We were up in the northern part of your area, but we" — Tolko — "swapped that with West Fraser." That is very confusing and very difficult to deal with. I think that we would be in favour of a different kind of area-based tenure, for sure.
J. Rustad (Chair): Thank you very much for the presentation and for taking the time to give us that information here today.
P. Blackwell: Thank you for the opportunity.
J. Banas: I'd just like to say one more thing. It isn't just the trapping industry; it's the wildlife itself that's out there.
J. Rustad (Chair): Our next presenters are with Ainsworth — Mike Kennedy, Rick Takagi and Chad Eisner.
R. Takagi: Good morning. Thank you for giving Ainsworth this opportunity to make this presentation. We've got a few guys along with us that are going to hand out some props as we go through this presentation.
Let's start. Ainsworth Engineered Canada is a leading Canadian manufacturer and marketer of engineered-wood products, with operations in B.C., Alberta and Ontario. For the past 22 years pulpwood agreement 16, which we'll refer to as PA 16, has provided fibre supply security through tenured harvest rights to 330,000 cubic metres of pulp-quality stands per year in the 100 Mile House, Williams Lake and Kamloops timber supply areas.
So what is our issue? Our issue is that the 25-year term of PA 16 ends on April 25, 2015, and there is currently no legal means for its extension. Without a secure fibre tenure, the future of the 100 Mile House OSB plant is at significant risk, as are its employees, contractors, suppliers and the rest of the community that relies upon it.
Ainsworth has worked diligently with the ministry for a number of years to establish a replacement tenure. However, despite the best intentions, Ainsworth remains without a tenure to take the place of PA 16.
What is the potential impact of us not having a secure tenure? Ainsworth has been an important presence in the area since 1952. In fact, this year is our 60th anniversary.
Ainsworth began operations in 100 Mile in the early '50s, and it was among the first in B.C. to use lodgepole pine and introduce weight scaling into the forest industry. This history of forestry innovation continued in 1994, when Ainsworth opened its first oriented strand board in 100 Mile House.
Today the OSB plant consumes 650,000 cubic metres of logs annually, of which 75 to 80 percent is beetle-killed pine, a size and quality that is not suitable for manufacture. We're giving you a few examples of this.
Ainsworth is the South Cariboo's primary consumer of low-grade logs. Given the ability to use non-sawlog material, Ainsworth plays a vital role in the area's fibre chain.
Ainsworth requires a secure and stable fibre supply to operate. Our continued investment in the OSB plant is contingent upon receiving a new tenure to replace PA 16. The loss to this community should the operation close down would be immeasurable.
Today the 100 Mile OSB plant directly employs 160 workers in high-paying, family-supporting jobs. Beyond direct employees, the operation also provides work to 150 contractors. The plant purchases goods and services from over 50 local suppliers and spends $40 million annually in the South Cariboo.
Ainsworth is the largest single contributor to the community tax base and provides funding and support to a broad range of local community and non-profit organizations.
We ask you that you refer to appendix 1 in our handout for a breakdown of our economic distribution to the South Cariboo.
M. Kennedy: Well, I'd like to talk a little bit about what the solutions are to the issue that Rick outlined. While the tenure situation is cause for tremendous concern, Ainsworth remains optimistic that solutions are available and can be implemented in the near term.
We believe the key to achieving these solutions is the application of tools and incentives that promote full utilization of existing public timber resources. B.C.'s timber resources should no longer be considered solely a sawlog supply but, rather, a fibre supply that can support a range of important B.C. forest industries, including sawmills and OSB plants as well as pellet and bioenergy operations.
The solution lies in recognition of the entire fibre supply through structural change to three components of B.C.'s timber management regime.
First, upfront assessment of fibre volume through the timber supply review. That means recognizing the total recoverable fibre volume for a given TSA based on the industries that use the wood in that TSA. For example, that includes, particularly in the 100 Mile area, inclusion of smaller stem diameters, lower merchantable volume per hectare and lower decay waste and breakage factors than the traditional sawlog timber supply review.
The second is to stop burning usable and economically viable fibre and waste piles and apply policy tools to increase fibre recovery from harvesting operations. For example, count all fibre against cut control with no grade exemptions, and eliminate the current stumpage-free waste allowances.
The third is to create new tenure forms and, where there is a demonstrated use, allocate the additional volume from the fibre supply to those tenures. Those tenures could include supplemental forest licences, true receiving licences and gross volume forest licences.
It's important to note that the ministry has already initiated a significant amount of the policy work required to achieve the solution. This was outlined in the ministry's recent paper titled the "Utilizing Low Quality Wood Fibre: Policy Review Document," which is provided for your reference in appendix 2 of the package.
If these policy tools and incentives are implemented, we can anticipate the following outcomes: first, a new tenure for Ainsworth to replace PA 16 and create the fibre security needed to support continued investment in 100 Mile House OSB; second, better utilization of the existing forest resources; third, sustaining high-paying jobs directly and indirectly associated with 100 Mile House OSB; finally and most important, we can look forward to a prosperous future for 100 Mile House and the South Cariboo.
In conclusion, Ainsworth has been an innovator and major employer in the South Cariboo for nearly 60 years. Ainsworth's OSB operation is integral to the economy of 100 Mile House and the South Cariboo. Ainsworth plays an important role in the South Cariboo fibre supply chain by utilizing low-quality and small-diameter logs. This is especially important given the mountain pine beetle infestation.
With PA 16 expiring in 2015, Ainsworth requires a new tenure in order to continue capital investment in 100 Mile House OSB. Ainsworth believes a new tenure can be developed based on principles already outlined in recent ministry policy documents. Specifically, recognize all the fibre in a timber supply area, improve utilization, and allocate new tenures to support industries and companies that utilize low-quality fibre.
In closing, the public, as owners of B.C.'s fibre supply, deserve to get the most value from its disposition. Before we expand the timber-harvesting land base into new areas, let's make sure the public gets the best utilization, the most jobs and the most economic value from the stands we are currently harvesting.
J. Rustad (Chair): Thank you very much.
N. Macdonald (Deputy Chair): A couple of questions. First, thank you very much for the presentation. What are the barriers to retaining PA 16 or similar access to fibre? It seems obvious that anybody in power would want to be keeping this sort of operation going, so what are the barriers?
M. Kennedy: As we understand it, first off, the Forest Act no longer includes pulpwood agreements as a future form of tenure. The current ones that are on line will expire, and there is no substitute or replacement for them in the Forest Act.
Second is establishing a specific fibre supply that could be allocated to a tenure that was made available to Ainsworth. Those are the ones, at least on the surface, that we see right now.
N. Macdonald (Deputy Chair): All right. I guess the other issue that you raised…. You raised some ways that it could be dealt with. I think a number of groups have talked about the tremendous amount of waste. You've talked about the opportunity to fully utilize. I think the figure that was used was up to 30 percent of fibre was not being utilized and was being burnt off.
You've said things that could be done. I'm sure you've said these many times to government. I know we were told in 2006 about how fibre waste would be reduced. Clearly, there are complications to that.
Here, again, I'm sure anybody that's in power would want that to happen. Again, what are the barriers? You've given us things that could be done. Why hasn't that been done? What are the actual barriers to getting access to that?
M. Kennedy: Well, right now there is really no downside to throwing wood in the waste pile. It doesn't get counted against your allowable cut if it's a so-called dry grade 4 or a dry pulp log. They're not measured in any kind of waste survey or recognized at all. For all intents and purposes, that wood disappears on paper when it goes into the cull pile.
Second, a lesser issue, is that there are waste benchmarks in place right now that provide a stumpage-free allowance for sawlog material that's left in the cull pile. The combination of those two means that there really is no downside to throwing wood in there. There's no need to have to utilize it.
D. Barnett: Thank you very much for making a presentation that I've heard since 2005, I think, when I was mayor. We were trying to come up with a solution to the long-term viability for your supply since then. I think we've made a few steps forward, and I know we have to make a lot more.
We do know that the legislation says that there will be no more pulpwood harvesting agreements, and there are many legalities as to why. We all know about the softwood agreement and sawlogs, etc. So I don't believe we'll see that changed. I think we understand that.
But as a suggestion, back to what MLA Macdonald said…. What would the actual solution be? I know we've worked on things together with the ministry, but to date, what would the long-term solution actually be for the long-term viability of secure tenure for the OSB plant?
M. Kennedy: Thanks, Donna. I think we have to first look at the whole fibre supply. When we're doing the timber supply review, we can't look at just the traditional sawlog industry. We have to look at all fibre and call a cubic metre of fibre a cubic metre, not just a cubic metre of sawlog. So we start out with a larger piece of the supply that we're looking at.
Then we have to ensure we're utilizing the full fibre supply that's out there. We have to establish some tenure forms that would provide an opportunity for Ainsworth to be able to acquire that timber either through trade or through direct harvesting.
As noted, the ministry has done a bunch of the work already to establish some of the framework for what could happen. We just need to move forward into the next step to make that happen.
B. Routley: I'm interested in these barriers as well, because it makes no sense to me, other than that I am aware that on the coast we had the problem that roughly 20 percent of the harvest was pulpwood. Obviously, you've got a greater volume right now with the pine beetle that's capable of making the kinds of products you need.
I know that we've worked on a licence within a licence. I don't know how that applies to volume-based areas, but obviously, we have to do some more work on looking at your issue to try to understand better why this is not resolved. It is very troubling indeed.
I want to know what your issues are in terms of the specifics of what we've been tasked to look at — for example, growth areas and visual-quality areas. I think it's important that we hear from the industry, because we've heard from a lot of the stakeholders their view on leaving the land use plans alone and not changing legislation to open up a can of worms.
I'd like to hear from your company. Do you have a position one way or the other? Should we be looking at some of these controversial areas, or is your view that we shouldn't?
M. Kennedy: I think our initial point, Bill, is that we need to get more from what we've got right now, before we move into other areas. We have an opportunity to utilize more fibre from the existing harvesting land base before we move on into new areas that haven't been harvested before.
I think there are probably opportunities to expand somewhat, perhaps on a site-specific basis, into some areas that are currently being visually managed. It's important, though, that as a first step, before we expand the pie, we make sure we get the full use of the current one that we have.
J. Rustad (Chair): We've got two more questions. I want to ask a quick one as well, which is just around area-based. Right now, particularly in some of the pine beetle areas, there's anywhere between 15 and 30 percent of the tree that's being left behind, depending on harvesting and that side of things.
Do you think there's an opportunity with area-based to actually create that demand and that opportunity to be able to harvest and actually capture some of that fibre for an operation like yours?
M. Kennedy: Well, I think there is a history of strong management in area-based tenures around B.C. over time. I think that's been proven in a number of cases. When you move that to 100 Mile House, given the fact that we don't have a long-term tenure right now, it's difficult to envision that being the best outcome for Ainsworth at this time.
But if we had some rights to that fibre or some way to lock in, legally or contractually, a requirement for its utilization and then an opportunity for Ainsworth to acquire that timber, then I think there's a lot of potential for area-based and some of the good things that go along with it.
J. Rustad (Chair): Ben and Eric both have questions. I'm going to ask you to try to keep them real quick.
E. Foster: In your appendix 2 you speak of the Ministry of Forests and Lands pursuing opportunities to promote the utilization of fibre. You go through some of them. It was with some extra suggestions, which I appreciate. Do you feel there's enough in that, especially under the receiving licences and petitions and so on — to address your long-term concerns?
M. Kennedy: If we used all the tools that are mentioned in there, I think there are definitely opportunities. Receiving licence would be very helpful. It would essentially provide a tool to attract the purchase volume to our plant that we need.
At the same time, though, it's important to Ainsworth that we also are able to retain a harvesting right under some form of tenure — particularly, for example, a supplemental forest licence, which would in some ways be similar to our current pulpwood agreement. That would enable us to acquire fibre when we need it and can't get it on the marketplace.
B. Stewart: I'd just like to ask a question. If we could resolve and find the solution to the fibre issue — the access to fibre and the tenure that you're looking for — do you see an opportunity from Ainsworth in expanding the OSB output production jobs, and if so, how much approximately?
C. Eisner: I'll field that one. I'm Chad Eisner, the operations manager for Ainsworth. We're always looking for new investment for viable businesses, and 100 Mile House has been one of our best performers in the company since 1994. About 40 percent of our market is to Japan, and we have some capital projects on the radar right now that would improve the productivity by about 10 percent output. We'd be kicking that off if we could get a long-term viable solution to this timber supply.
B. Stewart: Does that mean more jobs?
C. Eisner: It'll mean incremental for sure.
J. Rustad (Chair): We're over our time, but thank you very much for the presentation.
Our next presenter is Tolko Industries.
T. Hoffman: Good morning. For those of you that don't know me, my name is Tom Hoffman. I am the Cariboo regional woodlands manager for Tolko Industries.
Just a little bit about Tolko first. Tolko's mission is to be an environmentally responsible and innovative company that prospers and grows by serving the needs of diverse customers in world markets with products derived from the forests.
By way of history, Tolko is a B.C.-based company. Founded in 1956 as the Lavington Planer Mill, it was incorporated in 1972. Tolko has been in the Cariboo since 1981 — so 31 years of tenure in the Cariboo — when we purchased then Ernst Forest Products, which is now Quest Wood. We employ about 300 people in three operations in the Cariboo directly and in excess of 500 through contracting jobs for loggers, truckers and tree planters, etc.
I mentioned that we have three sawmills in the Cariboo. There is one in Quesnel and two in Williams Lake, but we do access timber from four timber supply areas: Quesnel, Prince George, Williams Lake and 100 Mile.
I'd like to start off by mentioning that we're pleased that the government has committed to public dialogue on the issue of mitigating the impacts of the mid-term timber supply. I'll be addressing both current and mid-term issues as I see them, so I apologize if I lead you…. I'll try and mention whether it's short term or mid-term. We're pleased that you're undertaking this very important work.
I'll start off from a business perspective and one of the current issues with regards to timber pricing. I think it's important that the committee be aware that the structure of the province's timber-pricing system never contemplated a natural catastrophe at the scale of that caused by the mountain pine beetle.
Some mills will close due to fibre shortages. But if the pricing system is not adjusted, many mills may close because of the timber-pricing system, even though there will be fibre available into the mid-term. So one consideration, short term.
Switching to the mid-term, we need to recognize that prudent transition plans are required in order to incent business investments prior to when the annual allowable cuts are reduced. That's why your work is so important.
There will be a contraction in the industry. It is imperative that we do not exacerbate the contraction in the industry post–mountain pine beetle. Certainly, during the transition period for investments in facilities and communities needs to be clearly outlined in a very short time frame…. So your work is important, and it must be done expeditiously.
Switching to an environmental perspective and a sustainability perspective, B.C. has earned a strong international reputation for world-class management of forest values. We must maintain and strengthen that reputation. We cannot risk ruining our environmental brand.
Long-term sustainability of our forests is paramount to British Columbia and to British Columbians' future, and other values beyond timber values must be maintained. We have currently and continue to have a serious forest health issue in our forests, but it's not just mountain pine beetle. There are other forest health issues that need to be addressed.
In mountain pine beetle–affected timber supply areas, licensees and British Columbia Timber Sales continue to focus harvest in dead pine stands. This is important for two reasons. First of all, we need to capture as much value for British Columbia and British Columbians as we can from this dead and dying resource and get new, healthy forests growing for our collective future. Secondly, we need to protect the non-pine stands to supply fibre for the mid-term.
In many areas some of the existing constraints on timber values or other forest values are no longer effective because of the mountain pine beetle. So we need to adapt and consider other strategies.
Some constraints are no longer meeting their purpose because the trees have either died or are dying and not proving the protection contemplated in that constraint. Prompt harvest and regeneration of these forests remains the best path forward for protection of all forest values.
What are the opportunities? During the previous presentation I heard you asking: what are the opportunities? There are a number of them that the committee should consider.
Using innovative or intensive forest practices to increase the mid-term timber supplies levels is one. Examining temporarily adjusting restrictions and protection on other forest values. And to the question to the previous presenters, in the Cariboo Chilcotin adjusting restrictions can occur congruent with the objectives that are currently outlined inside of the Cariboo-Chilcotin land use plan — over time, I will add. So there are temporal considerations.
Ultimately, you can never meet all of the values all of the time everywhere. But you can, over time and on a larger landscape, meet all of those values.
We need to redefine commercial timber by adapting new technology or accessing timber currently defined as non-commercial. So make the pie bigger. The previous presenters talked about OSB, but there are bioenergy and other opportunities.
There's an opportunity to mitigate the mid-term timber supply allowable cut by developing administrative means of effectively managing the AAC to enable delivery of non-sawlog pine to mills, making marginal or uneconomic stands economic. The example, of course, that's previously been talked about is the receiving licence. So there are administrative opportunities to extend and enhance the mid-term timber supply.
Adjusting administrative rules and regulations to enable larger, more economic payloads, like those used in other jurisdictions that we have to compete with in a world market scenario, will assist and garner access to more fibre further away.
It's difficult today, with the constraints on trucking configurations, to access and deliver that fibre — all of it — with the current configurations. If there was an exploration of other configurations, it would ultimately make that more economic. Each of these examples that I've given needs to be filtered for effectiveness and, of course, social acceptability.
One final opportunity — or situational assessment, I guess. The government has done a very good job of managing the forest inventory, but I strongly recommend that the government complete a vegetative inventory to effectively set a strategy for the future. This ultimately is because circumstances have clearly changed as a result of the mountain pine beetle epidemic.
With regards to stakeholder input — and I know that that's the sole purpose of this committee — I offer up these thoughts. The committee must define what and when the midterm is and recognize that opportunities are not all the same in each of the TSAs. One size does not fit all, so approaches to increasing the midterm timber supply will be different, unique and appropriate to each timber supply area.
This process, however, should not place the government in the role of selecting winners or losers amongst commercial competitors. This should not become a long-term land use planning exercise. Any proposal to combine existing TSAs in order to achieve AAC improvements should only be done by agreement of all affected licensees and stakeholders.
The industry and government will need to have the support of the public during this transition period. To that end, I suggest that your work is extremely important towards the economic, environmental and social sustainability of British Columbia and the future of British Columbians.
That concludes my presentation, and I'll entertain questions.
J. Rustad (Chair): Thank you very much, Tom. Just one quick comment. You asked about what, when and how the midterm is defined. We asked that question, and for our committee the midterm is defined as when we are out of the dead pine, when we're beyond the uplift and going into the pine and back into the green wood. So that is different, in terms of time, for various areas.
E. Foster: Thanks, Tom, for your presentation. Your comment about increasing the load sizes and so on…. Back in history, a little bit of the early '80s, when I trucked wood into Lavington Planer Mill, we had five-axle trucks. Now we're moving with eight-axle trucks. People are talking about off-road ten-axle trucks.
Having been the mayor of a small town where a lot of trucks came through constantly, the cost on the infrastructure to the public is substantial. Although, if you put more axles under the truck, you haul more wood — I get that part of it. I understand the economics. But not only to the public infrastructure, public highways and so on, also to the existing forest roads….
On our tour yesterday we talked to the people in Quesnel. We were in areas there where there is extensive harvesting of pine beetle. The bush roads are being beat up. They're hauling a ten-, 15-year supply of wood over them in a year, so they're getting used up at that rate. How do we pay for that? I'm not saying…. It's not a negative thing. It's just, you know…. It becomes extremely expensive to make the economics work for industry, and it obviously doesn't work for industry if they've got to invest millions of dollars in roads and so on.
I guess I'd throw that question back at you to see if you've got some sort of an answer on that.
T. Hoffman: It doesn't answer your question directly, but I'll start off with safety. We're not promulgating that we go to larger loads — so wider, longer, etc. — to jeopardize safety. This is a focus on doing it safely — not beating up the infrastructure but allowing access. The fibre in the Cariboo is getting further away from the mills. Two previous presentations…. We need to look at a different way of transporting fibre. It can no longer just be transported in the traditional methodology. If we truly want to capture, you know, bioenergy opportunities, do we go to long log? Do we look at ten-axle trucks, by way of example?
So not to jeopardize safety but to increase the economic payloads. There's a biological shelf life to mountain pine beetle–killed stands, but there's an economic shelf life to it as well. If we can't get to it because we can't afford to haul it, it will just go to waste. So what are the opportunities around that?
As far as the infrastructure costs, absolutely we need to be cautious that it is not perceived as a subsidy to the industry, because that would be in breach of the SLA. However, there are other users. There's mining. There's tourism. There's ranching. There's forestry, of course. There's firefighting. By way of example, in the Kluskus, west of Quesnel, there's a vast area unroaded there. You get a fire started in that dead pine, and it'll go forever.
So how do we…? It's in the province's best interest to build that infrastructure to access, in order to suppress fire situations as well.
J. Rustad (Chair): I'm really sorry. We've run out of time. We've got two other questions from Bill and Norm. I'm just wondering: can you guys ask quick questions? Then maybe we can ask if you could give it back in a written response or just a very, very quick response.
T. Hoffman: Absolutely. You bet.
B. Routley: My questions are around…. You mentioned pricing issues. Maybe you could tell us a little bit more about that.
The other one is the intensive forest opportunities. I wondered what, specifically, you had in mind when you were thinking of intensive forest opportunities.
N. Macdonald (Deputy Chair): I had the same interest in the pricing. You have quite a sweeping statement about a concern coming up. That would be good to hear about.
Also, we've heard from people who aren't licensees trying to get access to wood that's on…. They've identified some barriers. But it would be interesting to hear, from a licensee's perspective, what some of the barriers are that you perceive are there so that we can get other users into…. We heard fairly sweeping statements in the past from government about an intent to get at that waste. It's been a long time, so there must be issues we should be aware of.
T. Hoffman: There are certainly opportunities and answers. I will respond in writing.
J. Rustad (Chair): Great. Donna just wants to put in one quick question, as well, to respond.
D. Barnett: I just have one quick question.
T. Hoffman: Is it a tough one?
D. Barnett: Back to the issue of the resource roads. I would just like you to give me a model of how you feel these resource roads, if shared, could be paid for by all users.
T. Hoffman: I will respond. Thanks for your presentation, and thanks for your hard work.
J. Rustad (Chair): Thank you very much, Tom.
I apologize to future responders for allowing this to go over a little bit. I try to keep this as tight as we can, but obviously, there are opportunities once in a while, and we need to be able to extend.
Our next presenter is the West Chilcotin Tourism Association. Bill, over to you. Thank you for coming in from the Anahim area.
B. Van Es: Oh, that's fine. I mixed it up with a few more things I had to do. Thank you for allowing me to speak to this committee. My presentation isn't quite as — well, maybe not as lengthy — put down as the last presenter.
We have a resort on Anahim Lake, and I'm also the president of the West Chilcotin Tourism Association — quite heavily involved with the Cariboo Chilcotin Coast Tourism Association. My concerns are mostly for our members. The feelings that we have, that we have such a small…. We get very little attention, I guess I'm trying to say. We get overridden by the larger industries, such as forestry and mining.
It seems like the environment — which we depend on heavily in places like ours, and other places too — is being impacted regularly by things like this, which I have a hard time supporting, I guess. From not just a tourism operator and a resort owner, but just as Joe Public, I have a bit of a problem that we have to keep pushing, pushing.
I guess I'm just being a bit emotional, but I was part of the round table for nine years and sat on the CCLUP for a number of years. I thought we had a good plan in place. It wasn't perfect. It's a living document, which means it can be challenged. But I just have a feeling, and so do most of our members, that…. When do you stop this? How far do you go? Do we sit down again in ten years and push a little further? Just how far do we push this, that we have to get more and more timber?
I guess I'm one of these old guys that was around in the '60s and '70s. I worked for most of the mills, and we had a pretty healthy industry. They've all been bought out by the bigger firms, who are at this point in time….
I have nothing against the big mills. They're part of our industry, part of our province's economy. But I've seen such changes, and still they're not making enough money. We're cutting all the trees that are out there, and now we want some more, and we're still racing for the bottom line.
There's got to be a bit more thought put into how we can balance the need for the wild places — as I guess we'd call them — and places that we want to go, to go fishing, go riding, to do whatever we do. The bottom line is that most people that work in the mills still want the weekend to go somewhere, and they don't necessarily want to go to a bunch of stumps. They want to have a province that they can enjoy with their families. This is one thing that I'm a bit concerned about.
I'm not saying that we shouldn't be looking at better ways. I'm sure that there are areas that can be challenged and can be looked at. But again, I'm concerned when you start looking at…. You know, we call it a midterm plan. How can we…? We are in trouble today because…. Yeah, the pine beetle was a thing. There's always a forest health issue. If it isn't a pine beetle, it'll be something else. That's nature. But do we just keep pushing for more and more?
I have a bit of a concern that for the big operators there will never be enough. That's their business. I fully understand that. They have to get more timber to stay viable, but maybe there's another way of cutting a little bit less instead of the three shifts, seven days a week, going for more and more.
I was a sales manager for Weldwood for 15, 20 years, so I'm quite aware of how this whole thing works. It is a race to the bottom, trying to satisfy China. There's no money in China. We keep cutting more and more wood, for a market that really doesn't want it, but we have to keep cutting to keep our cost down. Maybe we should be cutting a little bit less. I don't know.
Maybe we have to be smarter businessmen and start making toothpicks or window sashes or something. I know it sounds kind of silly, but maybe we just have to be a bit more inventive in how we deal with the timber that's out there.
We had the Ombudsman, Stephen Owen, put his land use plans in place many years ago because there was a reason for it. And that reason is still here today. As we get more and more people on this planet, we've got to save some of these things, not just save them for the sake of saving but for us to enjoy, as people.
Like I said, I have nothing against the mills. As a matter of fact, I don't agree with the last speaker. I don't think, personally — and I've been quite involved at many, many levels — that the government has done a great job of managing the forest. I think they've done a lousy job by dismantling the Forest Service. And I have nothing against the Liberals or the NDP. It has been previous administrations for the last…. I don't know how many years. They keep cutting back, cutting back, for the sake of teachers, nurses, whatever else they need, to keep them popular.
I think there's got to be a visionary approach to this, which means that we have to value the stuff that's important to all of us. We need jobs. We need an economy, but we can't keep giving it all up just to satisfy whichever company. If we were bigger, I would say the same thing. We have to look at what is valuable to us.
I made a bunch of notes here. I haven't even looked at them since I got talking.
We had Christy Clark out in west Chilcotin a couple of days ago, just visiting, flying around, kind of low-profile — a family thing for her. The one thing she said — and maybe I shouldn't say — was that she's going to get rid of the name "The best place on earth." We're going back to "Super, natural B.C." Well, isn't that wonderful? But that has to mean "Super, natural B.C.," which means mountains and clean lakes and streams, you know.
There are things that we feel a little bit concerned about. The Forest Service I just talked about. I may not go on. I'm kind of rambling here, but that's just how I feel. One example: yesterday I picked up a couple of horses that I had to move to somewhere else, and there were two deactivated roads. The licensees, of course, aren't responsible ultimately, but out west there has been a problem with that.
Over the years we've put something in place, and there are not enough forest service staff to maintain the rules that they themselves lay in place. In both of these places — I just happened to go past two of them; maybe there would have been more if I had looked — there are ATV roads.
Any 4-by-4 could go around these deactivated roads with their gates. The roads around these gates are as big as the gates themselves, and they haven't been looked at for months and months — maybe a year. You know, people are accessing….
I'm not complaining about just the road. But to me, it's the lack of enforcement. Our system today has so many rules, but there's no enforcement. It's so easy to pass rules, but there haven't been the people out in the forest to look after what, I feel, the government should be doing: looking after our resources. That's all of them, including the land, the forests, the fish, wildlife, rivers — the whole thing.
I guess I just feel that…. I want to be very careful to not sound like I'm against logging, because I'm not. But there has got to be a balanced approach, and I'm just concerned. Okay, we come up with some solutions today. Are we going to sit down again in three years and go over the same thing, because it's still not enough and we're still not making any money? At what point do we say: "Sorry, guys; this is all we've got. Make it work for you"?
Anyway, that's all I have.
J. Rustad (Chair): Bill, thank you very much.
N. Macdonald (Deputy Chair): Thank you very much for the presentation, Bill. Certainly, I like the idea of "Super, natural B.C." better than "The best place on earth." I agree with the Premier on that, so there's my one plug.
It's an interesting dilemma. We've heard a number of people talking about inventory. We've had people from both parties, especially from rural areas, talking about the need to reinvest in the land. It's a political challenge for us. I mean, I think we had three speakers talk about inventory, but there's a cost to it. We have business that is under real pressure in terms of their costs. I mean, we had a previous speaker just talk about changes to the pricing system that could impact their businesses.
I think we often come down to the same problem — to put people on the ground. To do that stewardship properly, we have to, as politicians, get the wider public, not just rural British Columbians but urban British Columbians, to understand that these are sound investments. I mean, I think most of us would agree that the pressures on health care, the pressures on education are the ones that get dealt with first and that on the land base it's more of a challenge to get those investments.
I think that's what I took from what you were saying. There are multiple values, but ultimately, there has to be some investment back into the land if we're going to look after it properly.
B. Van Es: No, I think it's a visionary approach. There have to be balances and checks. Our personal lives are the same. We make choices, and I know that politics can be that way. You have to satisfy the populace to get back in power again. That's fully understandable.
But I still think that a lot of people are looking for some kind of visionary approach to this whole thing. It is a balancing act. We feel threatened on the values that we not just want but need for our businesses. It's not just a matter of having to go riding or fishing, but I think we as people need that.
I think the government…. It's bigger than just a few of us sitting here talking about this. I fully realize that. This is very far-reaching. If we look ten years out, it's not going to be a really simple approach to it. I just feel that we've got to be careful. If the companies are big enough and strong enough — they have to be in today's world — maybe, then, they themselves have to look at just how they can do things better and smarter, and this is all that's available.
At what point in our political…? You're looking out at four years, two years — whatever you are — 20 years out. I mean, if you can't live with what we have today…. We're consuming it faster than what is growing. At some point we cannot keep going the way we are.
That's my concern. That's not for today or tomorrow. It's beyond that.
D. Barnett: Thank you very much, Bill, for coming all the way in here from Anahim Lake.
I just have one question. Years ago we used to have the Anahim round table that made a lot of decisions out there. That, basically, was your land use plan.
B. Van Es: That's right.
D. Barnett: The Anahim Lake round table. Do you feel that that table should be put back in place?
B. Van Es: Yes, I do. As a matter of fact, we've been talking about it, Donna. Don't forget: the round table — we were doing great as a subregional, but we were steamrolled into the CCLUP. It became an upper-level plan, which was adopted by cabinet. I don't know to what point it was passed or agreed to totally, but the Anahim round table was a very strong document because it included First Nations, trappers, forestry. The only one it didn't was mining, because they seemed to be able to step outside of these things.
There were agreements, and I think it gave everybody, including the licensees, a way to operate. They had guidelines, and there were do's and don'ts. I was quite involved in that. We made some trade-offs. Places close to the Dean River that they really wanted because of the nice, big spruce — we said: "Well, hold on. We can't do that. If we have to block it, we will. We're not going to allow that. But if you want to have some timber somewhere else as a trade-off, yes, some of this timber up here is still quite good, but it doesn't really impact us as taking this block." We came to agreement, and that became a working relationship.
Anyway, yes. The round table would be very valuable.
J. Rustad (Chair): Thank you. Ben, quick question.
B. Stewart: Thanks, Bill. I just want to ask about, you know, the agreements that you've reached, just as you were just describing there. Are you satisfied with the land use plans and the protection that's out there in your area? Being that it's a long ways away from here, I just wondered, you know. Can you help us?
B. Van Es: We're fairly satisfied, Ben, because we were able to sit down with all the stakeholders. Like I said, that included trappers, mushroom pickers, loggers — everybody. First Nations signed on to it as long as it didn't impact their future land negotiation. They became a signatory. So did the Ministry of Forests out of Alexis Creek. It was a good, workable document.
We made sure that it was a living document. There was some infestation of the mountain pine beetle close to the Dean River, but at least we were able to sit down and say: "Okay, yes, there is a problem there. We have to deal with it. This is what we can live with, and so can you guys, hopefully." We were able to come to agreement.
It wasn't always perfect, but probably as good as it got, because it was local stakeholders.
J. Rustad (Chair): Thank you very much, Bill, for taking the time for sharing with our committee.
B. Van Es: Thank you for having me.
J. Rustad (Chair): Our next presenter is the Cariboo Chilcotin Regional Resource Committee. Over to you.
P. Rykes: I'm Petrus Rykes. I've been going since four this morning, since I drove out from Anahim Lake also. I live across the lake from Bill. I have a resort — Eagle's Nest Resort.
I'm representing the board. The board has a lot of concerns, I guess, about sustainability. One thing with the board…. It has sort of been in limbo in the last couple of years. The word is that government really doesn't know what to do with us. The Cariboo Chilcotin Regional Resource, which was a board and was changed to a committee, has saved government's bacon many times on many occasions.
It was a board that administered the CCLUP, the land use plan, and there was always controversy. Controversial things went in to the board, and solutions came out and were handed in to government.
A board like that was essential for the land use plan to succeed, but it's not being used right now, really, to its full potential. It's sort of stagnating. I know changes are coming. Usually when there's confrontation, there's a need for something like that.
The success of the board is stakeholder-driven. You had all the players on the land base, grassroots level. It wasn't from the top down, which usually regurgitates stuff.
The CCLUP was one of the strongest, most successful land use plans. My personal history: I've been in land use planning for 20-plus years, going back to the Anahim round table, which was the first successful land use plan through the CORE process in the province. That plan was used as a blueprint for the CCLUP eventually.
Land use plans are living documents. By that I mean that they're meant to be tweaked and looked at again. As the world changes, we have to adapt, and the pine beetle has shown us that.
To open up a land use plan like a can of worms, you're getting the worms. There's a caution on that. There's been a lot of hard work. I'll just give you a few things I've been involved with.
I'm a founding member of the Wilderness Tourism Association, first vice-president; a founding member of the West Chilcotin. I was the president for 12 years. I sat on the Council of Tourism board, with COTA. On the provincial level I had the land and environment portfolio for the tourism industry.
While I was on that board, I was instrumental in starting the Foresight Project for the tourism industry. The Foresight Project is based on the three-legged stool of sustainability: economic, social and environmental issues being addressed.
Forestry, tourism, mining — it doesn't matter what industry. We have to look ahead. The world is changing. We have to adapt to the environment, to the social issues. That's one of the things we have to adapt to as businesses. Otherwise, we become dinosaurs. We have to look ahead. This process is timely in the sense that the world is changing. Sustainability is at issue here, and the future of our kids and grandkids is at issue here too. These are important times, and it's only by working together and addressing issues that we're going to get through these times.
One of the things is that I've worked with many foresters over the last 20 years — Dave Bedford being one for 20-plus years, Brian Hanson, Phil Theriault. There are numerous other foresters I've worked with. We've worked on solutions to complement the forest and tourism industries. How do we make this work? We're in this together. How do we both make a living and do it in a way that's profitable? I mean, economics is still a driver. Without it, you're basically not in business.
There is stuff done on the land base in the Anahim Lake area and in other areas, which is really sort of partially forgotten in time because it's been done. There's cutting that's been done. I used to fly to board meetings in Vancouver and Victoria every month, and I used to fly over all the logging and stuff. I would visualize myself as a critic. What if I was a tourist? Some of the stuff I was looking at, I was saying to myself: "Gee, that doesn't look good. And that looks pretty damn good."
The closer I got to Vancouver, the worse it seemed to get. Some of the stuff that some of the foresters have developed to make both tourism and forest industries work on the land base is quite phenomenal. So there are a lot of solutions out there.
One of the things I'd like to strongly suggest is that there were two things we did out there. One was that we included tourism in the strategic planning stages of forest development plans. It was cost-effective. It avoided a lot of conflict. You got to know what tourism's issues were before you developed the plans, so you could design things around it. Also, digital terrain modelling. In the old days we would get these big maps and have meetings, and the town would come out. You'd look at the polygons and say: "I don't like the big ones." You didn't know, because they were big cutblocks.
When digital terrain modelling came in, they came out to your place and took a picture and superimposed what the cutblock would look like in your viewscape. As a lodge owner, that's really important for your business. You could say: "I like that one; I don't like that one." But we found out that the little cutblocks a lot of times were the problems.
So those are two things that I think should be mandatory and would alleviate a lot of conflict. We're going to go through conflict because we're going to be looking at things. There are a lot of solutions out there on the land base that have been accomplished, but they're not too well known. That would free up, I guess, areas to be harvested.
The other thing we did through the CCLUP was old-growth management areas. We layered things in there, and it was quite an innovative thing because you had all these stakeholders demanding their little pieces of whatever. Some of these old-growth management areas had five or six layers, from archeological First Nations, mushroom issues, tourism, wildlife, biodiversity. All these things were layered in there to make the figures work. By doing that, it increased the value in a non-harvesting area.
There are solutions out there. I think it's by having dialogue and working together on this. In the end, like I said, we're all in this together. We want to make this work. We've got a super, natural province, like Bill said. And the Premier said — she was staying at our place, so I got to guide her around some of super, natural B.C.
It is an incredible province with a tremendous upside in…. As a board, like I said, that was one of the things that was successful. You had all these different stakeholders working together for the common good, and that's why it was so successful. It was the CCLUP, I think — the strongest land use plan in the province. I'm extremely proud of the effort that went in there. This region is very proactive, and I'm very positive there are solutions there to work things out.
Before I get too carried away on other things, I guess that's about it for now.
J. Rustad (Chair): Thanks very much.
Questions from members.
D. Barnett: Thank you very much for coming in, Petrus. I hope you took good care of the boss. Because if not, I'll suffer the consequences. I recommended she go there.
P. Rykes: No, she's quite happy.
D. Barnett: The Cariboo-Chilcotin Regional Resource Board is still in existence, is it not?
P. Rykes: Yes, it is.
D. Barnett: So what does it need to function?
P. Rykes: Well, it'd be nice if we had some direction and a little bit of funding. Like I said, all our time is donated. We'd just like to cover our expenses, like for travelling for a full day almost — just some basic things.
D. Barnett: And the direction?
P. Rykes: Problems need to be vetted through the board because you've got every stakeholder represented there. You've got people that are flexible, willing to work together. It's not just a me, me attitude. It's what's good for the whole region.
You have a board. Like I said, it's grass roots. You're starting from the grass roots. If you get the grass roots, you've got a base, and then you can work up the chain. Once you get that foundation, you can work up. But if the orders are coming down from the top, it's really tough to get buy-in when it's not worked out at the ground level.
I think some sort of a process…. It doesn't have to be maybe as large as the land use process because a lot of it's already been done. I think it needs tweaking — a board or some board like that is very valuable in going through the rough waters. It's like having a good ship. I think something like that is needed to bring everything together.
N. Macdonald (Deputy Chair): I take it the essence of your point is that if we're looking at making changes, a big part of anything that would be considered would be something that involves grass-roots participation — the capacities within these communities to make those decisions intelligently and find the right balance.
So just to understand…. I mean, these committees sort of ebb and flow with the energy level, and I guess what you're saying is that it's got to flow and that there has to be….
P. Rykes: Well, there has to be conflict. You know, I guess we did our job too well. There was no conflict for a number of years, which is okay. But at times like this when you need something, a rudder, to steer through…. One thing the board has is the creativity and the adaptability. You're dealing with people on the ground that know the area intimately. You've got every stakeholder there, so nobody is really left out. You don't have the backlash afterwards.
J. Rustad (Chair): Thank you very much for your presentation and, once again, for taking some time to share with our committee.
Our next presenter is the Cariboo-Chilcotin Guides Association.
S. Maitland: Howdy. I'm not very good at talking or anything, so you're going to have to bear with me. Anyhow, I thought a little introduction of myself first of all. I sort of came to 100 Mile in 1955, which happens to be the year I was born, so I've been around here awhile, probably even longer than Donna. I don't know.
Anyhow, I got into the guiding industry in '79, actually — I think it's John's area there — with a guide, Ejnar Madsen, up in Babine Lake and up in that country there, where I started out and stuff. I bought my own guide territory in '81 and have been making my living doing that ever since. I've seen a lot of changes on the land base, and you know, it's kind of hard to accept some of the stuff that's going on, but anyhow, that's myself — okay?
The Cariboo-Chilcotin Guides Association has been around since eternity. We represent…. In the Cariboo there are over 50 guides. In the province we employ, on the average, six people, but probably in the Cariboo it's maybe a little less than that. We've got a lot of small territories, so it's probably a three-person average on the employment. The guiding industry, I think, does $116 million annually. The guiding industry goes on and on. That's a little bit about that.
What has happened, which everybody is sort of well aware of, with the pine beetle epidemic…. I should maybe go in a little bit with the CCLUP first, because it has been brought up a lot. I was quite involved in that process for three years. Every single meeting, it seemed, there was Petrus and, I think, Guenter back here, and a few others. Quite a few people were involved in that. I'm not going to go into that a lot, because it sounds like most people have gone into that a lot.
I do agree with Petrus on the implementation board, which I was on. We haven't had a meeting in I don't know how long. Basically, once the whole parks process was done, it sort of was the end of the meetings. A lot of stuff has happened on the land use plan since its inception that wasn't really in the land use plan. Of course, when the land use plan was brought up, there was no pine beetle epidemic, you know. Obviously, we've had to make changes to accommodate that.
You know, I guess the needs…. To have a sustainable guiding industry in the Cariboo region, we need quantity and quality of wildlife. That's our primary goal. We don't really have anything to say about the AAC. We just want it to be sustainable. I mean, we're 100 percent for the logging industry and keeping that as a very vital part of our province and our economy. But in the same needs, we don't want to undermine our own industry.
You know, we need to have a good quality of wildlife and a quality experience. Guide-outfitters are the first tourism people in British Columbia, maybe even Canada, and we also experience the best rate per day of any tourism industry sector there is, so it's a good industry.
On the pine beetle logging, and even the logging in general that has taken place, the land use plan had all sorts of sectors laid out in it. You've got special resource development zones, and each different sector is in the land use plan. Some are for timber. "This is going to be a heavy timber management area" or "This is going to be a management area for tourism" — that sort of a deal.
I mean, although logging would take place in all of it, it was just certain levels of logging and how it was done. There were lots of VQO objectives, old-growth management objectives and wildlife objectives laid out within it, and there was a lot of compromise, on everybody's behalf, in the land use plan. I think wildlife sort of got the short end of the stick. Of course, that's the sector I come from.
I know our mule deer winter ranges, for instance, which are real critical…. You know, when we had a series of mild winters, and we've had good wintering and stuff, you figure: "Well, gee whiz, what do we need all this mule deer winter range for?"
Yet in the last four years we've had two bad winters, and you can really see what we need the mule deer winter range for, because we've probably lost over 50 percent of our herd. We compromised big on the mule deer winter range, so what's left is pretty important to us.
Access is the other big thing. The massive, quick logging that's been taking place, especially in the Chilcotin and parts of the Cariboo as well, has just opened the country up tremendously. It has really been hard on the wildlife. As you may have heard in the news lately, our moose populations are plummeting, are in decline.
That, of course, is not good for our sector. We've just taken a huge hit in the allocation policy. These big declines in moose, which is our primary, number one animal in the Cariboo-Chilcotin…. We've had up to 60 percent declines in population, and that's going to further reduce several of our outfitters and probably put them to the point of non-sustainability.
So access, probably even more so than the logging, is the biggest enemy for wildlife, from the logging aspect of it. Also, I mean, if you start going into the old-growth management areas and stuff which are critical for wildlife as well, then that's going to open it up even more. Visualness is also really difficult. When you've got the access and the visual…. Some sectors don't really have seasons. Some are limited. With all the access and stuff, the moose really are in pretty bad shape. They don't have much hope, and if they don't have much hope, neither do we.
That's the other thing. Some of the openings are so large that you could watch your dog run away for three days. When you've got the access and you can see forever…. You know, animals are pretty vulnerable.
I guess what our fears are, of re-sharing what we've already shared once, are further erosion of wildlife habitats and wildlife populations, therefore worsening our scenario. I guess we don't feel it's right to maybe try to save part of one sector for a short period of time and degrade the other sectors totally.
Some of the other things are the silviculture objectives and some of the…. Silviculture is also a real hard thing on wildlife. The best thing for wildlife is not satisfactorily restocked areas, but of course, we can't have that either. The herbicides, even though…. You look at some areas where they're herbiciding now. I was just looking at some that they did last year out in our guide area, in the prime, number one moose winter range in my area, and nothing grows but trees and false Solomon's seal. There is not a living thing other than that in those herbicided areas. Some of the deals….
It's all to do with free-to-grow. Free-to-grow is the worst thing in the world as far as wildlife goes. All they're trying to do is culturally grow a tree and nothing else. That's not good for wildlife, not just the ungulate species but all species of wildlife, from the top down — or from the down up; either way.
When I see an area of intensive silviculture, that kind of scares me a bit. I can see them perhaps taking some areas and maybe doing some intensive silviculture, as long as they're not wildlife areas. There are a lot of areas there that aren't critical wildlife habitat. But there are a lot that are. Yeah, intensive silviculture is a bit of an issue with us as well.
I guess I've talked a lot about the values, the CCLUP. Let me see if there is anything else I've missed.
The VQOs are also critical. In the land use plan a lot of the VQOs…. Wherever overlap could happen, we also overlapped with critical habitat areas. VQOs are sometimes also good wildlife habitat areas.
There's also in the guide-outfitting industry a lot of trying to make a living…. We're also going into other parts of tourism — different tourism stuff: backpacking, horse trips, fishing trips, whatever. It's been said here before how important it is to have super, natural British Columbia and the visual aspect of the hundreds of people that we have coming through this province, or the thousands of people coming through this province every year. So that's pretty important.
I don't know what else I can really say. We really do value the forest industry, and we want to keep it going. But I guess some of our fears are that we don't want to keep it going for 20 years when it should be going for 100 years. I really don't see this as a mid-term timber supply issue. It's a short-term timber supply issue. We're talking about what we've got to do right now to save some jobs, or whatever, which is critical.
I think if one could move to better use of the timber that we're harvesting already…. I mean, I go out there in these blocks and I just see mountains of fibre out there that just gets burned. A ton of my clients are forest people from the States. Probably 50 percent of my clientele is from the forest industry, out of the States and stuff. They just shake their head when we go around and see what's going on. I mean, they just can't believe what waste — what they consider waste.
I don't understand the economics of the forest industry, and from what I understand, it's just too costly to take a bunch of this stuff out and use it for chips or whatever. I can see where secondary industry would be more important to put time into than to try to take more than what's sustainable in the long term.
I guess that's about all.
B. Routley: Thank you for your presentation. I think there's kind of a common thread between a lot of the communities that we've heard about: the need to make sure that any lens that we put on any changes should come back to the community.
I guess I'm trying to…. You said that you spent three years involved in the land use plan. We've heard various speakers talk about tweaking or renewing or updating the land use plan. Do you think that's something that all of the stakeholders that were involved in land use planning would be interested in doing? I think you and others have made the point that the pine beetle wasn't something that they were looking at and so obviously updating the land use plan….
Could it be done in a timely way? Obviously people would be saying: "Well, I'm not going to invest three more years of my life in this." Is it something that could be done in a timely way, or do you think it should be ongoing kind of community consultation? What are you thinking about?
S. Maitland: I mean, the land use plan was supposed to be an ongoing thing. The land use resource board, or whatever they called it, was supposed to be ongoing. As I say, I was on that, and I don't think we got a meeting in three years.
I don't know what you call timely. I mean, are you talking timely a year? Are you talking timely six months? I don't know really what you mean by timely.
I guess the appetite would be there for such a thing, but there's got to be some wins on everybody's side to make it effective. It can't be a one-way street — to make it work. If people felt that they weren't going to get a fair shake out of the deal, I don't think you'd have an appetite for it.
J. Rustad (Chair): Stuart, thank you very much for your presentation and for providing us with the information.
Our next presenter is the Echo Valley Ranch and Spa.
Alan, welcome. Over to you.
A. Pineo: Good afternoon. Thanks for the opportunity to express our concerns and opinions in regards to the land use plan. I hear a lot about that today, and I have actually been involved in many of them, through First Nations involvement, in the last ten years. I guess, like many of us, I thought we might have put that to rest for a while, but apparently not.
Again, we at Echo Valley have been very fortunate in a couple of ways. One of them is that the beetle kill, for some reason, decided to avoid us. It's around us everywhere, but it has avoided us and is not in our direct visual landscape. The fire that took place from Kelly Lake and worked its way up the Jesmond Road — I think it was 2008 — was a huge forest fire, and it stopped five miles short of the ranch. So up till then we've been pretty lucky, and we've been able to maintain our viewscape and our landscape and everything else that's around us. It's a big part of who we are.
As a ranch and spa, we are entertaining guests from all over the world. Without those views and without that landscape, we really don't have much else to offer. Horseback riding is fun, but it's not fun riding it through 200 acres of stumps. So we have to be aware of what we're doing there.
I've got a very short presentation here, so it's not going to take very long. I think the main idea for us to be here, as individuals, is to sort of just put our case forward. I'm not here to tell you how to do your job. I'm not smart enough to know the forestry industry enough to tell you how to make it better or make it work. I just have to tell you what our concerns are, so I hope you'll bear with me on that.
We recognize the importance of our forest industry and appreciate the many issues facing everyone involved, including the impact of the mountain pine beetle, the rise of the American dollar and the downturn in the world economy. These events have created a situation unlike any other in recent times and have impacted our forest industry in a very negative way.
Our industry, tourism, has also been severely impacted by these three issues. The rise in the American dollar to almost par with the Canadian dollar has created a significant decrease in tourists from south of the border. The downturn in the world economy has had a very noticeable impact on our business as well, with overseas visits down by 50 percent. Forests destroyed by the mountain pine beetle will never recover in our business lifespan and have also had an impact on our ability to sell beautiful B.C.
We've got a lot in common with the people who are in this industry. I think I have heard it said here before. Some of the speakers were amazing. They focused on one thing. We appreciate what the forest industry has and how important it is to British Columbia, but we're all in this boat, and we're all being impacted by what's happening. It's not just the forest industry that's been impacted by mountain beetle kill. Everybody has been impacted by it, one way or another.
Echo Valley Ranch has been operating as a resort and spa in the Cariboo-Chilcotin for almost 20 years. It currently employs 16 people full-time and contributes many tourist dollars to the Clinton area. The total dollar investment in the Echo Valley Ranch is substantial. It is considered to be one of the top guest ranches in North America.
Many of you may not be aware that Echo Valley is currently rated by TripAdvisor as the No. 1 resort in all of Canada, and it's recently been designated as the No. 1 resort spa in Canada. So I think it's something that the Cariboo-Chilcotin and the people in this area should be very proud of.
I wonder if I could ask you to…. Those of you that have this, if you would just open up the page right after the foldout in there, right off the bat. I'm pretty sure it will give you an impact of what we're looking at — for those of you that are behind me. We are impacted by what they call the VQO, visual-quality objectives. I think that picture is worth a thousand words on its own.
As you can see by the brochures we've presented to you today, Echo Valley Ranch is surrounded by unparalleled beauty, much of which consists of untouched stands of timber, which are made up of a full variety of species.
Again, one of the concerns that we at Echo Valley have is that the wood that is around us is still very healthy and quite diversified. I could see that anybody going out there as a forester or as a logging company licking their lips, looking at it and thinking: "It's not just pine." So it's a bit more of a concern to us.
It's not unusual to count four or five bears, many times accompanied by tiny cubs, wandering the pastures of Echo Valley Ranch. Of course, this is possible because of the nearby healthy forests, and you can imagine the excitement these sightings create amongst our guests.
It would not be an exaggeration to say that the scenery alone, visible from all the decks of EVR, is enough to fulfil the expectations of our many visitors to B.C. Relaxing the visual-quality objectives in our area has the potential to have a tremendously negative impact on our business and our ability to survive.
We also offer trail rides, guided hiking tours, as well as 4-by-4 excursions — all emanating from EVR and eventually ending up in the forests surrounding our property. The ranch cares for 35 horses, which are used extensively by our guests over the eight months we are open, and riding through the many trails in our area is a highlight for so many. They all comment on the forests and the views.
If we can't offer healthy forests and unscathed landscapes, then what's the alternative? Echo Valley Ranch and Spa relies 100 percent on its visual and physical access to the scenery and healthy untouched forests surrounding our property, as do many others in the Cariboo-Chilcotin.
I don't want to seem self-centred here. It's not about Echo Valley Ranch. It's about many tourism operators here. But in that picture, you can see within our zone, our visual zone, the amount of trees that are out there that they would love to get at. We're hoping that somewhere along the way this committee will get up one morning and say: "You know what? The first thing that's on our agenda this morning is that we're not going to log that patch of trees in front of the ranch."
We're here just to sort of state our own individual case, and we're also here in support of others, including Ainsworth. I mean, I get where they're coming from. I've managed forest woodlots. I've put together many, many programs for the First Nations forestry, and it's been a big help to a lot of us, and we're hoping that we'll survive. I was raised in Port Alberni. It's a well-known logging town. It's not something that I'm unfamiliar with. But in our case, we're just here to say we're hoping that when you get down to the final decisions, our objectives and our needs are well considered.
That's all I'm here for, and I thank you very much for your time.
B. Stewart: Thanks, Alan. Great photograph of a spectacular view that I know some of us have seen, but I don't know how it looks today. I guess the question I have is with the other presenters that are in these areas where tourism is such a large part of what takes place and is the economy that they depend and thrive on.
Where the pine beetle either has been harvested or where it has impacted you, how do you find the reforestation practices in terms of what you're seeing after the fact? Obviously, logging has been going on in the Cariboo for well over a century, and it's something that I think as an industry they've tried to improve on. But how are you finding that as an operator today in your area — on the way to the ranch, in and around where maybe pine beetle has been harvested?
A. Pineo: Well, two things. I think overall in the reforestation programs that were existent before the pine beetles came, I thought the province was doing a fabulous job. I've seen it everywhere. I mean, it's been actually good. I agree that maybe they're a little overkill in their herbicide use in not letting the undergrowth come along a little bit healthier, but I'm not an RPF, so I'll leave it to them.
We have no visual concept of the pine forest, of the beetle kill at all from our area. It's really difficult for us to see — only if we drive through it. Right now most of it is burned, so there's not much going there. Directly around the area of the ranch, there's very little impact. So we've been lucky that way, but we've also got a lot of timber around us. We could be looking at….
That's what we're afraid of — that you're going to be looking at that as your alternative. But I don't think it's possible for reforestation to keep up to the harvesting that's going on in the pine beetle right now. I think it's impossible.
J. Rustad (Chair): Norm's the next question, but I actually have a question as well.
Looking at the viewscape around and the trees that you have, it is gorgeous in the area. The reality that we had with the pine beetle and the biggest challenge we had with the pine beetle epidemic is that the trees got too old. We were too efficient at natural fire suppression and created a host of wood available for the pine beetles.
There are other forest health pest problems out there as well, including spruce, as we've heard about today in areas that have been killed, and fir, etc. What I'm wondering is: in the viewscape in the area around you, if an epidemic were to break out — not a pine epidemic, but if another epidemic of some kind were to break out — what would you recommend in terms of how to manage dealing with that within your viewscape?
A. Pineo: Well, we had a little air show the other day from some people with…. I think they were probably going after spruce budworm or maybe fir — something new. They came right over top of the ranch and were buzzing in there trying to kill off some of the stuff that's going on there.
But you're saying: if we had an epidemic. I think our forest is so diversified where we are that that won't happen. But that's the key. You can't keep planting spruce in a million acres and then fir in a million acres. You've got to mix it. Somewhere in there, you've got to start mixing it. I know terrains and climate and heights and altitudes and weather and moisture and rainfall all contribute to that, but we're so into sticking to planting straight little lines of pine trees back in where they were before that we're probably just waiting to create the same problem again.
Boy, I don't know. If you came into our area and somebody was to…. I mean, who can stop what's going to happen? I don't know. It could be a fire that comes through one day. Something will come through. The actual visual impact of those dead trees standing for the next 25 years is pretty harsh to look at. They're going to come down some way or another. I don't think you can do much about it. I don't know what you can do. Once it's gone, it's gone.
I'm 67 years old. I don't think I'll be around long enough to see the changes.
N. Macdonald (Deputy Chair): A beautiful sight. It does look gorgeous. How much of that is protected within visual-quality objectives? Are these sightlines that…?
A. Pineo: Yeah, a fair bit of it in the land use plan right now is, and that's our concern — that it won't be. I guess it's as simple as that.
N. Macdonald (Deputy Chair): Okay. Obviously, it's worked well to date. So if there are areas that are going to be harvested, there's consultation now? You go through a process that works for you?
A. Pineo: Yeah, there are lots of areas around us where logging is very active and is not impacting anybody around us — well, I'm sure to some degree, but certainly not visually. We've been very fortunate in that way, so I'm hoping it's going to continue. We'll see.
J. Rustad (Chair): Great. Alan, thank you very much for your presentation.
Our next presenter will be the Cariboo-Chilcotin Beetle Action Coalition.
G. Weckerle: Good afternoon. I guess I get the honour of being last in 100 Mile. I'm not sure if that's good, bad or indifferent right now.
Thank you for providing time for us. I'm the vice-chair of the Cariboo-Chilcotin Beetle Action Coalition. My name is Guenter Weckerle. I'm a registered professional forester. I was involved in the development of CCLUP from the early days and all through the integration of the plan for the last far too many years. I've been a director of CCBAC since its inception and was part of the thought process in getting it started.
In my other life I'm the woods manager for West Fraser in Williams Lake, and I've been there for about 23 years. I was also part of the former chief forester's oversight group that looked at the mid-term timber supply mitigation planning, so I was involved in a lot of the work that was done on the four timber supply areas as a test and the report that came out on that. So I have a reasonable knowledge of that.
I want to go through a little bit…. There's been a lot of discussion about CCLUP and the land use plan. It was unique. It provided timber targets, which people haven't talked about. But there are timber targets by resource development zone within the land use plan, as well as a number of other things that were put forward. It was done by the people in the Cariboo. It wasn't a CORE process. It was negotiated.
The plan protects a way of life, and the success of the plan depends on the hard work and good will of all the people. By working together, we can ensure a healthy and productive land base and a strong, growing economy not only for ourselves but for generations to come. This was really the first part of the balance that was there for the three-legged stool of environmental sustainability, economic security and community stability.
CCLUP is a long-term land use plan. Its objectives and strategies are dynamic — they're not static — and were always planned to be balanced over time. Land use plans can't be static. They will change, and the mountain pine beetle epidemic is a classic example of trying to manage for static things. It was signed off in 1994; it's still working today. A lot of the people that were here today still talk about it, still believe it's working. It's a testament to the people of the Cariboo that it went this way.
Moving on to CCBAC. CCBAC is a little unique. It has three First Nations representatives, one from each of the language groups — the Carrier, Chilcotin and Shuswap — as directors. It has four elected officials as directors — one from the regional district and the mayors of Quesnel, Williams Lake and 100 Mile. It has a representative of the major licensees, which is myself, and it has a representative from the Cariboo-Chilcotin Conservation Society. So it's a little different. It's not all elected people.
The intent and the original concern by the former mayor of Williams Lake was that the problem was being ignored. There was a concern that we were going to have an east coast fishery and that we were going to continue down the road. Then we would have a problem, and nobody had addressed it.
The intent was to act responsibly to address the mountain pine beetle epidemic. It was a continued commitment to CCLUP. It built on the working relationship that people had in developing CCLUP and implementing it.
At the regional scale, as I said, our leverage practised history of collaborating and dealing with difficult choices on our own with government, technical and administrative support…. As former Mayor Rick Gibson called it, this was part of the republic of the Cariboo's thought process.
The mountain pine beetle issue and the impact of it — it's not outside the capability of the region to address it, given adequate motivation, some freedom to do so and some support to make it happen.
The mission vision statement for CCBAC was to ensure that the communities of the Cariboo-Chilcotin are economically stable, that there are jobs in all sectors and to support the entrepreneurial spirit that is fundamental to the Cariboo-Chilcotin lifestyle. That's the long-term goal — to keep what we have and to build on it.
The CCBAC investment themes. In the first phase we've spent a lot of time doing the planning — understanding and looking at various strategies as to what we could do to help diversify the economy, recognizing that we're going to have issues with the forest industry because we're at an accelerated cut and that we're going to have some falldown of some sort, and how we mitigate that.
There was support for infrastructure. From our final report we looked at all kinds of infrastructure from all levels of government. We believe that we need an investment in training and supporting people in order to maintain the regional and provincial economies. We need an investment in all sizes of businesses, including counselling, research and financing across the board. There has to be investment for all sectors that utilize the forest land base.
In the last couple of years most of our time has been, thanks to the funding that the government provided a couple of years ago, to deliver strategies, not to do the planning. We've tried to stay away from applications that look at doing more planning, because I think we've done enough. It's time to deliver on the ground.
So a lot of our themes…. If you look at it under tourism, there's been a mountain bike tourism initiative out of Williams Lake that's also looked at 100 Mile and Quesnel. Our focus has been to do things on a regional land base, a regional basis, recognizing that things that happen in Williams Lake also benefit 100 Mile and Quesnel and vice versa. We look at it as a regional process. So we have the Cariboo Mountain Bike Consortium.
Barkerville is a major tourism destination, and there's a marketing process going on there through to China. The Gold Rush Trail is pushing to access Barkerville by snowmobile trail and develop a proper business plan through the 100 Mile area. We've provided funding to get that underway. The agriculture business web tool is designed to provide some web-based tools for ranchers to develop better business models of what they can or can't do. We're involved in trades and technology LEEF programming.
Central Interior Poultry Producers is working on a sustainability project. I'm not the best person for the agricultural stuff, but they are looking at a mobile abattoir, I think it is, and moving through that.
We're also involved — recognizing that we have issues with watersheds coming at us with the dead pine and the harvesting — in looking at a project as to how we can deal with water management and a template to use that. We're using Big Creek to develop that template.
We've been working with the Island Mountain Arts out of Wells on a couple of their projects to help provide training for new artists. We're involved in a rural B.C. project with other beetle action coalitions and expansion of the green energy also.
We're in the process, with Thompson Rivers University, to deliver skills training for forest, mining and First Nations workers trying to upgrade their skills, to provide the ability to move into other industries.
Of course, one of the other ones that we've done is the Bridges community forests program, which is looking at a process to help community forests and woodlots market their wood to value-added opportunities. Of course, there's the various green energy…. We did a lot of work with the log home people to look at getting them some process to allow them to sell and market their products better.
The last couple of things that aren't in there…. In principle, the Alexis Creek First Nation has put forward a proposal that we're supporting, looking at a power drink that they're going to be looking at marketing. We're very charged up by it and hope that things will go well with it.
That's sort of where we're at. I think what we really need to talk about, and what you're looking at, is the short- to mid-term — predominantly mid-term and transition — decision-making process. How and what do we do? To a large degree, I think that in most of the areas we know where we're coming from.
We know we've got accelerated cuts, and we've got elevated harvest levels to salvage, and they're not sustainable in the long run. We know that sooner or later we're going to be going down, post–mountain pine beetle, anywhere from 40 to 60 years. We also know that sooner or later we'll be coming back up, because the land base will recover, and the trees will come back.
All the mountain pine beetle–impacted TSAs are similar. They all have the same graph as shown here. They're a little different in the nature of how much and what abilities you can do or can't do to them.
But as you can see, there are numerous options that you can look at to try to mitigate this. They're all unique, and they're all different. There are many choices and factors in making a decision as to what to do in every timber supply area. There's no one right decision or model. There are numerous ways to go, and every area will be different.
Some guidelines that we think you need to consider. Do everything in the short term to improve or secure the mid-term timber supply. That means focusing on salvage, trying to stay out of the mid-term timber supply, which is the non–pine beetle area.
Do nothing in the short term that reduces or risks the mid-term timber supply. We do need to protect it. We do have mountain pine beetle, but we also have Douglas fir and spruce beetle, and we need to protect our values.
It's a difficult situation, but reductions in AAC will occur. The only tool we really have regarding the managing is how much and when. One of the "due regard" issues within your terms of reference is "optimal health of communities and as orderly a transition as possible to post-beetle cut levels." We think that that's necessary. There are numerous ways to do it, but you have to look at the forest-dependent communities. It has to be a transparent process, and it has to be timely in regards to short- and mid-term issues.
If not, there will be a lot of angst. Over the last ten years there's been a lot of concern within forest-dependent communities that are impacted by mountain pine beetle — the sky-is-falling syndrome. We don't need to perpetuate that.
Under the overview. Under stage 1 there's timber supply mitigation. You have an option to leave or change the timber harvesting land base. There's work been done by the ministry to look at mitigation strategies regarding additions to the land base — what may or may not be possible and what it does or doesn't do with regards to improving the short-term or mid-term harvest levels.
There are administrative boundary changes or area-based tenures. This is really a long-term solution and may not help with the short-term mitigation and transition.
I think you have to map out potential or most likely scenarios for each management unit that's going to benefit that unit the best. You have to meet with the communities and talk about assumptions and decisions, and support the information as it's needed. You have to enlist their understanding and their support and address the uncertainty and fear. As I said, we don't want to perpetuate that we're going to have a significant impact on communities. If we do, we will have more difficulty getting over this.
Stage 2. This is the longer term. This is government's, community's, industry's and institutions' role in the mitigation of economic activity, health services, social services and education services.
The one thing that we found when we did our planning processes…. We looked at the economic end of mountain pine beetle and strategies to deal with economic. We also looked at the social end and the impact of the social community. Healthy communities make a difference, and there are indicators to it.
The mountain pine beetle cuts across more than just the forest industry. It cuts across natural resources, environment. It impacts education, finance, health, communities and employment. They all deal with it. All of the ministries are going to be impacted one way or the other on this decision.
You have to look at how this is going to work or not. I mean, if you think of the Mackenzie experience in 2008-09, when everything shut down and the impact that was done by the global recession, we're looking at a similar situation — maybe not quite as dramatic, but it's the same thought process.
That means that there's impact on employment, education, health, families, finance and social services. They all have to be part of the solution.
We're out of hockey season, and we're into football season, so it's time to talk about who's the quarterback. The time has come to make a decision on who's going to lead. We have a fairly good offence, and we have a number of potential quarterbacks.
The industry, really, can't lead, but it can definitely support any direction and process. Competitive energies polarize and separate us from collaboration. We have different goals from a company perspective. The rationalization of the forest sector is uncharted territory for all of us involved. We recommend that government not interfere with this process.
The future does look good for the companies that can plan and survive the post–mountain pine beetle era, given that the forecasted strong demand for wood products is there. It's not an easy one. It's probably the fairest for the forest industry but probably the toughest for the communities, because it's too random and may have a difficult impact on various communities.
The forest-dependent communities are the second player in the backfield. They're hands-on with the issue, they have a vested interest in working through the situation, and they have a dynamic involvement in regards to the cause and effect. Whatever happens, happens to them first.
The governments, provincial and federal, have a responsibility to engage, have wide-ranging mandates that are needed throughout the short- and mid-term. They're not hands-on at the community level but have a vested interest at the regional and provincial scale.
Can all three players work together to make this happen? We have a good offensive line and good backfield. We're at the ten-yard line, and we're behind by six points. There are 30 seconds left and perhaps two plays to make a touchdown. The quarterback and the rest of the offence must perform to win the game. We have to make those decisions sooner than later, and we have to start with the right play.
Getting started. Within the Cariboo-Chilcotin we have lots of regional experience with CCLUP and CCBAC processes, and it provides a good foundation for moving forward. The region has the ability to contribute and lead in this process. We can keep a longer-term focus in support of CCBAC's recent efforts and maintain the CCLUP balance. There's always been a desire to do that — and the three-legged stool.
Mountain pine beetle–affected management units are more similar than they are different, and those graphs show that. They're all a little different in how the impact is, but they all have accelerated cuts, they're all going to drop, and the choice is: how do you do that?
In stage 1 is the timber mitigation and looking at potential scenarios. We have a lot of work done. There's a lot of information. I don't think we need to go back to the full planning to start this again. Work on the best one, fix a timeline, and deliver and revisit regularly. I think we have to make decisions. We have to do it in a transparent manner, and we have to give some security to the forest-dependent communities that we are moving forward on this.
In stage 2, which is the broader mitigation, you have to look at the ministry roles and responsibilities going forward to help diversify the economies and recognize that there are going to be impacts; bracket potential scenarios for transition; fix a timeline; and deliver.
The CCBAC board is looking for stage 1 results as soon as possible — the communities are — in order to begin the process of talking with staff from other ministries in regards to how we move forward with this issue. We're prepared to provide some leadership at the regional level in regards to making this challenge on the issue the best it can be. We're in the last minute of the game, and hard decisions have to be made.
That's the end of my presentation.
J. Rustad (Chair): Thanks very much.
N. Macdonald (Deputy Chair): First off, I love sports analogies, so two thumbs up on that, and thank you for the work that you do. Just a quick question on support. Over the period of time that you've been active, do you have a sense of how much provincial money has gone to the planning part of the work? And then do you also have a sense of the amount of provincial money that's gone towards implementation? What are the funding sources for the work that you've been doing?
G. Weckerle: I can start with CCBAC. When it first initiated, it provided its own funding to provide a proposal to government, to say that we need to do something. The provincial government provided approximately $2½ million for the initial — as we call it, CCBAC 1 — which was predominantly the planning phase. There were about 19 to 20 strategies that were looked at, both economic and social — a number of those things.
Not all of that funding was used. There was approximately $300,000 or $400,000 at the end of the process that was kept, looking forward to implementation. There was an additional $300,000 that came from government to provide some transition, and then about a year and a half ago there was $3 million that was provided for implementation. We have started on some of the implementation. I don't have the exact numbers, but it's probably $700,000 to $800,000.
A lot of the strategic work was contract work, but most of the people that were engaged were volunteers. There was a lot of work done with volunteers.
D. Barnett: Thank you very much, Guenter. What a great presentation.
I think that in dollars and cents…. If I could just say, there's been a lot of money put into it through ministries, through programs that have been implemented. I don't know if you want to expand on those that don't show down as a solid line, things that have happened — paving roads, etc. — because of the work in the planning stage of CCBAC.
G. Weckerle: Yeah, it's hard to….
D. Barnett: It's really hard.
G. Weckerle: I mean, there was a lot of work that went…. There were numerous meetings with the ministries — both the social and the dirt ministries, as we call them — as to getting to understand what the process was, what the impacts were. There were workshops here to do that and in Quesnel.
We flew them around to show them the impact of the beetle. People from Victoria that were at the deputy minister level in ministries that weren't dirt ministries were more than amazed when they flew and saw the red trees and the potential impact.
There were a lot of things that happened, a lot of the positive things that came, especially on the social end. On the economic end we tend to work regionally a lot more. On the social end we tend to look in the communities. We were able to expand that thought process to think more regionally.
There was a lot of work in our final plan that actually looked at the social end and healthy communities, and an index to look at healthy communities as part of that.
J. Rustad (Chair): Thank you very much for your presentation and for the work that you've done.
That brings to an end the public input component. We have a few minutes left, so there is an open-mike opportunity if someone would like to present to the committee. I also want to remind people once again that through what you've heard or through any other process, if you have a desire to give us some input, there's an opportunity to do that through our written component up until July 20.
Lee, did you want to present? I know you're scheduled for presenting in Merritt, but this open mike is only five minutes. Unfortunately, we don't have time for questions and answers.
L. Granberg: I'll read fast.
Thank you very much for the opportunity to be able to speak. I hope that I can do it in less than five minutes so you guys can question me.
As one with firsthand experience in the forest industry since 1969, including the time of transition from selective logging, labour-oriented, to hydraulic logging, clearcut and reduced jobs, I have an understanding of the bug epidemic and the accusation of the subsidized timber supply by the U.S. I hope you ask me on that one.
I have seen the degradation of our riparian areas and water supplies and understand the hydrological impacts as a result of our forest practices. I've also been a subcontractor for B.C. environment for more than 25 years, dealing with water- and fish-related issues. I was on staff with the Okanagan Indian band at the time the Fraser River and Columbia watershed stewardship was formed, and I continue to work through them.
I was also present during the conception of the forestry eco-hammer, attending meetings with Andrew Petter regarding timber supply. As well, I recently attended the eighth annual meeting of the entire Interior stewardship of the Fraser watershed.
I have a strong business understanding and background. I know logging inside and out. I don't come from the side of industry, and I don't come from the side of the environment. I come from the side of sustainable life — life on earth.
Now, I'll get to the principles and the guide of the evaluation of the decision-making. There are really only two parts to this. That is the loss of labour and the living tree. The loss of labour within our forest industry is inevitable, whether we log sensitive areas or not. To do so would only provide a short-term benefit, roughly ten to 25 years, and would cost a nearly complete sacrifice of our long-term benefits.
On the other hand, what value does a healthy ecosystem bring to the quality of life of humans and wildlife? There has not been enough emphasis on the living tree in relation to our ecosystems, sustainable waterways and fish habitat and tourism. The value has always been placed on the harvested tree to the detriment of the living tree.
"How should decisions regarding potential actions to mitigate the timber supply impacts be made and by whom?" Sport fishermen, commercial fishermen, stream beneficiaries — that would be like Indian bands, townships as to water supplies, irrigation, etc., animal habitat interest groups also. We should take the timber industry, sawmilling industry, completely out of the equation, as their interests lie solely upon the shareholders and the stock market. Historically the timber industry had to make a mandate involving timber volume and employment. This balance is no longer in consideration.
"What specific information about your local area would you like the committee to know and consider?" Well, as a rancher, I have noticed the predator action of the pine marten and the fishers eating my chickens due to the fact they have nothing to eat and no place to live. They can't live in the middle of a clearcut, which is all around me.
It should be recognized that the dead pine and natural effects of blowdown are critical to the survival of nesters and grouse, rabbits, mice, songbirds, etc. These areas deserve to be recognized for habit — that they are not simply seen as a convenient harvest. We cannot completely wipe these areas out. Something needs to be left for our native wildlife.
Also, the appearance of the landscape affected by close-in logging and logging publicly visible areas are having a negative impact on tourists, mostly foreign.
"What cautions and advice do you have for the committee?" Don't enter into any of our riparian areas or controversial areas, such as has been previously set aside. Keep the valleys and watersheds previously identified as sensitive off-limits, as they are crucial to wildlife survival — bears, etc.
No logging should be allowed in our parks. Parks provide the basis of the headwaters of our watersheds and ecosystems. It's crucial they remain intact. High consideration for production should be given to watersheds vital to human and wildlife survival. Fishways are a high value to protect. Our national parks should be left in a natural state, returning great value to the tourist industry.
Now you ask: "How would you as an individual or a community want to be engaged in these considerations going forward?" Well, I would consider an involvement and continuing dialogue as a consultant. I have a vast knowledge and past experiences in the areas.
Having said that, I'd like drop a question on you guys. I don't expect you to answer it, but I do have the answer. When did the Forest Service stop being the protectors of our forest and start giving a hand to the exploitation of our forests? Did that question…? When did the B.C. Forest Service stop being the protectors of our forests and start giving a hand to the exploitation of it? That's a good question, because our forestry is in a hell of a mess. Obviously, we haven't been looking after it — not in industry and not with our government.
J. Rustad (Chair): Lee, thank you very much for the presentation. We're out of time, unfortunately, for questions. But thank you for doing your presentation.
I'd like to thank everybody for coming out today. In particular, I'd like to thank Dave Peterson, our current chief forester, who has been faithful in travelling through all of the community consultation process that we've gone through. Obviously, whatever comes out of this will ultimately end up falling on his desk, so I'm glad he's here to be able to hear everything that's going on with this.
I also want to thank everybody else for attending — in particular, that this has been standing room only for most of the day. So I'd like to thank people for their patience in going through this process.
Our next committee meeting will be in Williams Lake in a few hours' time. With that, I move adjournment of the committee.
The committee adjourned at 1:02 p.m.
[ Return to:
Committee Home Page ]
Hansard Services publishes transcripts both
in print and on the Internet.
Chamber debates are broadcast on television and webcast on the Internet.
Question Period podcasts are available on the Internet.
Copyright (c) 2012: British Columbia Hansard Services, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada