Land tenure decisions by the Province in the early 2000’s have played out with regards to the recent tendering of Block E28 within the Sunshine Coast Community Forest tenure within shishalh territory. This controversial cutblock, called by some the Chanterelle Forest, has been on the books for a while as the SCCF rotates their harvesting activities between 3 areas on the coast.
District of Sechelt Council members are well aware that they are shareholders in a forestry entity that harvests all of its wood in the SCRD’s Rural Areas. Block E28 is within an area that the citizens of Roberts Creek have targeted for enhanced ecological protection through our Official Community Plan (the source of these images). Our community is painfully aware of where an OCP sits in terms of forest legislation. I know that the Mayor has been in touch with the province around the cut block .
The Wilson Creek watershed has had a long history of what is, in my view, overharvesting through the years by a variety of tenure holders, many of them private. There are several watershed studies, refutation papers, responses to those refutations, and further reports available for further public research online. There is a strong argument that the tenure that was given to the SCCF included controversial areas to keep the discussion and potential conflict local, while maintaining provincial harvest levels. The SCCF stands to lose their tenure should they not meet provincially set quotas.
It should be noted that the SCCF has committed to not logging for the next 20 years in their holdings above the intakes to the Chapman and Grey regional water systems, and has demonstrated other stewardship initiatives around our community water supply that have not been evidenced by other operators.
While I don’t always agree with the Sechelt Council’s Granting decisions, if the dividends from the entity end up building covered bus shelters in front of hospitals, residential school memorials, holding wood expositions and creating trails in our community (as opposed to into an off-coast shareholder’s pocket) then we all benefit.
Recently, SCCF Staff and Chair met with the Roberts Creek Official Community Plan Committee to inform them of their plans, and to hear concerns. The meeting was constructive and moved us down the path of mutual understanding. I thank both organizations for their work in this area.
I look forward to working with the District of Sechelt council, and possibly SCFF Board members with regards to opportunities for further respectful public engagement, sustainable practices, inclusive granting processes, and any other approaches to help the Community Forest with its mission of “Creating a legacy for our citizens by being exceptional stewards of our forest while balancing environmental, economic and social aspirations of the community”
In the meantime, I’m strongly encouraging those who are working in the woods, and those who choose to exercise their democratic rights to express their opinion, to do so in a manner that is safe for all, minimizes ecological impact to the extent possible within their various mandates, and recognizes that we are members of the same community.