Mayor calls for timber tenure reform

Logs should be processed in the same administrative jurisdiction they are harvested in, says Clearwater Mayor John Harwood

Logs should be processed in the same administrative jurisdiction they are harvested in.

That was the message Clearwater Mayor John Harwood took to the provincial legislature’s special committee on timber supply when it met in Kamloops on Thursday.

“I don’t know if they appreciated the bluntness of my comments but that’s the way I feel,” Harwood said.

The committee is looking at the situation created by the reduction in timber supply caused by the mountain beetle in the Interior, combined with the overcapacity of giant sawmills built before or during the beetle epidemic.

“I’m concerned that this area will be used to fill in for those areas where the forest industry is not survivable,” said Harwood. “We can’t produce enough to sustain those mega-mills and the end result could be that no areas are survivable.”

The mayor’s strongest message was he felt there is a disconnect between the politicians and the bureaucrats.

The provincial politicians they are in favor of good things for local communities, but the actions by the bureaucrats go in the opposite direction.

Services are being centralized in the major centers, not because it is more effective, but because it is more convenient.

The mayor said that just last week there were 12 Forest Service staff at a lunch in Clearwater. Only two were local, the other 10 were from Kamloops.

Driving from the city and back would have taken at least three hours from their day.

However, that “windshield time” does not seem to be a factor in the equation.

Trucking logs great distances does not make environmental sense, he said.

Recently he heard of logs being trucked 500 km one-way.

 

The mayor gave Wells Gray Community Forest as an example of how local control of resources can benefit the community.