Canfor should respect Upper Clearwater land use plan

The KLRMP document recognized that there would be areas that required a more intensive local use plan

Editor, The Times:

As a participant in the Kamloops Land and Resource Management Plan (KLRMP), I was very glad to read that Mr. Baird from Canfor “respects the land use objectives set through public processes.’’ What surprised me is that he made no mention of the existence of a local use plan for the Clearwater Valley.

The KLRMP document recognized that there would be areas that required a more intensive local use plan involving stakeholders with intimate knowledge of the land base in question. In fact, it was under section 3.2 of the KLRMP that the Ministry of Forests initiated a local use plan for the Clearwater Valley. The Ministry of Forests hired the facilitator and sat at the table with other stakeholders for the more than two years it took to reach a consensus decision

All of this is a matter of public record. So if Mr. Baird supports public planning, he must also support the government sanctioned, consensus based, document that was signed off by a Ministry of Forests designated decision maker and covered the upper Clearwater Valley.

If Canfor has decided to log in the Clearwater Valley in the same way that they would anywhere else in their operating area – and ignore the Local Level Plan – that is a company, and a professional, decision. If this is how the company proceeds however, it cannot also be claimed that they are carrying “out our logging plans based on (the) land use planning process” as was stated in Mr. Baird’s letter.

Using the numbers from Canfor`s 2010 Sustainable Forest Management Plan, it can be calculated that the Upper Clearwater Local Use Plan covered approximately 1/10th of one per cent or 0.10 per cent of Canfor`s timber harvesting land base. Yet this small area has more potential for land use conflicts then in any other place in Canfor’s operating area. Letters from stakeholders with valid concerns and viewpoints remain unanswered and Canfor’s final plans are unknown despite their plan to log in the spring.

By respecting the local use plan, and being more responsive to concerned citizens and stakeholders, Canfor has a chance to uphold the tenants of their Sustainable Forest Management Plan and The Canadian Standards Association (CSA) while having their goodwill effect a very small portion of their total land base.

The only way to make decisions that are best for the entire community is for Canfor to address the concerns of stakeholders in a meaningful way – ignoring a local plan is not a good start.

Tay Briggs

Clearwater, B.C.