Editor, The Times:
I’m writing to correct misinformation in the Nov. 24th op-ed. Over 10 years ago, the province made policy changes to greater increase the participation of First Nations’ in the forest sector. Since 2002, the province has signed agreements with 177 First Nations providing $354 million in forestry revenue-sharing and providing access to 62 million cubic metres of timber.
Currently there are over 395 forestry-related licences held by First Nations under different agreements across the province. Through the direct award of forest tenures, First Nations in B.C. hold under tenure over 12 million cubic metres of allowable annual cut – about 15 per cent of the current allowable annual cut.
As well, in response to specific requests from First Nations, in 2011 we introduced the new area-based First Nation Woodland Licence.
With regard to converting volume-based forest licences to area-based forest licences, I remain committed to ensuring there is a consultation process before any amendments to legislation are introduced. This government recognizes the important role of forests in the lives and livelihood of First Nations and communities across British Columbia. We remain committed to ensuring all British Columbians have a say in how our forests are managed.
Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations