Area-based tenures consultation hits home stretch

Consultation on converting some volume-based forest licences to area-based tree farm licences wraps up at noon on May 30

Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations

VICTORIA – If you’re interested in providing input on the future of area-based forestry tenures in B.C., there’s still 10 days left to weigh into the debate.

Launched April 1, the ministry’s provincewide consultation on the idea of converting some volume-based forest licences to area-based tree farm licences officially wraps up at noon on May 30.

Anyone interested in participating in a public discussion on the expansion of area-based forest management is encouraged to visit the ministry’s public engagement website at http://engage.gov.bc.ca/foresttenures. This site has reference material, questions and answers, a discussion paper and an interactive blog with postings from consultation leader, veteran professional forester Jim Snetsinger. Interested parties can ask questions, exchange views in the blog comments section or make formal written submissions. To date, the website has received more than 6,500 visits, more than 119 comments and over 600 people have downloaded the discussion paper. A lively discussion has also been occurring on the blog.

Over the past seven weeks, Snetsinger has been travelling across the province, meeting with stakeholder groups, First Nations and members of the general public. Meetings have been held in Smithers, Burns Lake, Quesnel, Williams Lake, Prince George, Kamloops and Cranbrook.

The schedule of meetings wraps up this week with sessions in Nanaimo (May 21) and Vancouver (May 22 and 23). Discussions are focused on the potential benefits that proponents may be able to provide by converting some volume-based to area-based tenures, the criteria for evaluating applications, and the process for implementing conversions.

Conversions are not being considered on a provincewide basis. They could be one “tool in the toolbox” that may help with mid-term timber supply issues in parts of the Interior that have been impacted by the mountain pine beetle.

Following the engagement process, Snetsinger will compile the feedback into a report and deliver his recommendations to Forest Lands and Natural Resource Operations Minister Steve Thomson no later than June 30, 2014.